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Jaxon Smith-Njigba, NFL Draft Wide Receiver Prospect

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
April 26, 2023 9:26 pm

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, NFL Draft Wide Receiver Prospect

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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April 26, 2023 9:26 pm

Jaxon Smith-Njigba joined Zach to discuss how the elite wide receiver room at Ohio State helped develop him and what kind of leader CJ Stroud is. 


Back in Kansas City, this is Zach Gelb Show Coast to Coast on CBS Sports Radio. Now joining us here inside the P&G style lounge on behalf of Tide is the man that I think is the best wide receiver in this draft class. I'm not just saying that because he's sitting next to me.

I've been saying that all leading up throughout this process, formerly of the Ohio State Buckeyes, that of course is Jackson Smith and Jigba. Jackson, appreciate the time. How you been? Been doing good, Zach. Appreciate you having me on.

Well, thanks for coming on. So we all know what you did in 2021. And last year, unfortunately, the hamstring didn't get you on the field a lot. For people that didn't see you play or forgot what you did in 2021, how do you kind of describe who Jackson Smith and Jigba is as a football player? I would just say he's a playmaker.

I mean, you could see that in the year before in that film. I think the film speaks a lot, you know, about who I am and how I carry myself. You know, definitely seeing a competitor, you know, a war dog when he's out there.

And just a reliable target, you know, for his quarterback. And, you know, just try to control the things I can control, get open, catch the ball. And, you know, I think I do that very well. How's the hamstring doing? It's great.

It's great. I'm ready to compete. I'm ready to compete. I'm 100 percent healthy. Thank you. Thankful to God.

And I'm ready to go. When you're not playing and when people don't see you, a lot of narratives pop up and people are like, we all know he's going to be an early first round pick. You know, maybe he's not as hurt as what's being led on to believe.

When you hear all that crap out there, you're laughing that right in front of me. Like, how'd you process that? I mean, it was tough. It was tough.

But, you know, what gave me peace was, you know, the people I love and the people that know me and know, you know, who I am, you know, knows that if I could anyway be out there, you know, I would be out there. You know, I mean, I've thought about this season. I'm trying to win a ring.

You know, a championship at Ohio State is greater than a lot. It's great, you know. And I would sacrifice, you know, a lot for that. And I did. And, you know, just it was out of my control.

So unfortunately, I wasn't able to play. But, you know, the people that know me know that, and I know that I would be out there. So I got peace. And I don't, I really laugh at this stuff because it's just people who don't know me and, you know, build that narrative. But, you know, that's what it comes with. What type of competitor are you? I mean, that's a good question. I feel like, you know, in the NFL, I made it to the NFL. I mean, going to tomorrow. But, you know, I'm just, I mean, I think I'm one of the top competitors in the world. I mean, to play this sport. And, you know, I feel like my mindset is, you know, trying to be the best and be with the elite group of receivers. And, you know, I will, I won't stop until I am. So, you know, I'm just, you know, hungry, you know, ready to prove, prove a lot. Feel like I haven't proven much. So, you know, I just got that chip on my shoulder and ready to go.

I know everyone says the Ohio State, but it really should just be wide receiver for you because you guys just pump wide receivers into the NFL. Just being in that receiving room has to be super competitive. Oh, 100 percent. And that's what, you know, definitely developed, you know, us, you know, just coming in every day and us trying to be the best, seeing who's the best that day. And it was great, man.

I love that stuff. That's why I really went, you know, being next to Gary Wilson, Chris Olave, Marvin Harrison Jr., of course, Julian Fleming. You know, the list goes on, you know, being next to those, those guys definitely brought out the best in me and definitely stole a lot of stuff from those guys.

So, you know, I was blessed to be in that room. You mentioned Garrett Wilson, one of your former teammates, just won Offensive Rookie of the Year. I saw Matt Miller from ESPN the other day said that the Jets have done a lot of homework on you. If you did get drafted by the Jets, to be able to reunite with Garrett, what would that mean to you? Oh, I mean, that would be definitely awesome playing next to G5 and Aaron Rodgers.

I mean, you know, one of the best, if not the best quarterback, you know, in the world right now. So I would definitely be pleased going up to New York and being a Jet. That would be awesome. But anywhere I land, man, I'm going to just be super excited and ready to go. I just don't know if you'll be available at 15.

Right. We'll see. We'll just have to wait and see tomorrow. I mean, I'm excited. I'm nervous.

You know, anything can happen. So, yeah. What is this process like for you? You've gone through all the interviews, you've gone through all the tests, and now we're 24 hours away. As you get here ready to see your dream get accomplished, just what's going through your mind?

Man, just trying to spend time with family and get my mind off some stuff. But, you know, I'm just super excited. You know, this is a lifelong dream. You know, I knew I could I knew I could get here with all the hard work and just to see that pay off and, you know, get to where I want to be. You know, it's just an awesome experience and I'm ready for tomorrow. But, you know, I'm ready to compete. You know, you know, missing last year, you know, was tough. But for me to get drafted, it's not my end goal. You know, I want to be in the league and I want to play for a lot of years and be dominant.

So that's why I'm looking forward to it. What have your conversations been like with the other Ohio statewide receivers that were your teammates and have just had that recent success in the NFL when you look at a guy like Chris Olavi and Garrett Wilson just off the top of my head? Yeah, I mean, talking to those guys, they just tell me to be myself. They say don't change, be yourself and be present and be ready for any given moment. I mean, they kind of know, you know, what I'm about.

So I just feel like, you know, if I keep being myself, keep working, have my head on straight, that things would be just fine. Like I said, it's wide receiver you. This time next year, we're going to be talking about Marvin Harrison Jr. We all know how great he is, but you saw that each and every day. What is he going to be able to do a year from now in the NFL? Man, Marvin Harrison Jr. is a monster straight up. Just your prototypical wide receiver, you know, 6'3.5", 6'4", you know what I'm saying? Just built fast, strong, the best route runner I've seen at Ohio State in my times there.

So, you know, who knows? I mean, next year, he might even look way better. I mean, that guy puts in a lot of work and he'll be ready.

I'm excited to see what he'll do for Ohio State this year and in the league for sure. You got that tag as the man and you had to go back. What advice would you give to him because he has that title now as the guy and he has to go back for another year?

Right. I mean, you know, go get what you want. You know, last year, you know, we had goals.

We set goals and we didn't accomplish them. So, I was just, what I'm telling him is just go get, you know, what you're working for and, you know, he's got the blueprint for sure and he's got a great foundation. So, and he works hard, you know, better, you know, harder than anyone that I've seen at Ohio State. So, I already know there's not too much you can say to Marvin. He has it. Jackson Smith and Jigba here with us.

We never know this time of the year what is true and then what's just being put out there to make someone look bad and what's the motive behind it. When it comes to CJ Stroud, some days you see he's going to be the first pick. Some days you see he's going to fall outside the top 10. Who is CJ Stroud as a quarterback and a teammate? CJ Stroud is a leader, a competitor, a person, you know, a teammate that you need to have and want to have in the locker room. Smartest guy on the field when he's on the field.

You know, pre-snap, post-snap. Knows how to make defenses pay and sees the play before it happens. So, working with him, a great mind like that. I mean, I'm excited to see where he lands and see his progression as his career continues. So, I mean, it was awesome playing with him. You know, hopefully one day I get another opportunity to play with him.

It was great. I know everyone that gets drafted says this time of the year I'm just excited wherever I get picked. We talked about potentially playing with Garrett Wilson in New York.

If let's just say Stroud goes to and the Texans grab you at 12, to be able to continue to play with CJ Stroud would be pretty neat, right? Oh, man. Yes, of course. Houston, Texas, too. That's home.

So, you know, that would be awesome, you know, if they can make that happen. But like you said, anywhere I go, I'm going to be blessed and ready and thankful for the opportunity. What type of football fam were you growing up as a kid? I was a college football fan, honestly. My dad took me to a lot of A&M games, took me to a lot of Texas OU games. You know, the Cowboys were definitely always on. But, you know, I'm a football junkie. You know, I love football, watch it all the time. And love to see how the game is growing in the right way.

So, yeah. How'd you wind up at Ohio State? Lack of recruitment, you know, early by the Texas schools and all the other schools down south, really. And Ohio State came in, laid my junior year and swept me. You know how passionate the Ohio State fan is. Ryan Day hasn't lost a lot of games during his time as the Buckeyes head coach. But when you lose to Michigan the way that you guys lost the last two years, people start to question him. What do you say to Buckeye fans that aren't all in on Ryan Day anymore?

I would say relax. I mean, you know, Coach Day knows what he's doing and, you know, we'll get it figured out. You know, I have full faith. No one wants to win more than those guys in the locker room and that coaching staff. So, I would say, you know, if you're going to be, if you're a Buckeye, you're a Buckeye and we're rolling.

So, don't miss on the opportunity of what's coming. Away from the field, and I know this is all business and every single move you do, you get followed. But what do you do for fun, Jackson Smith and Jigba? For fun, I like to watch my brother play. Play baseball. Like I said, I'm a sports junkie. So, you know, watching him play baseball.

Usually, I'm at the crib playing some video games. I'm a movie person. Love food. Love to go out.

Yeah, I like to hang with family and friends and maybe go on a walk or enjoy nature and stuff like that. So, yes sir. So, a few years ago, we had Justin Jefferson on and this was when, I think, it was four teams passed on him and he said, I'm going to make everyone pay and now we know he may be the best wide receiver in football. We saw that immediate impact.

Jamar Chase recently had an immediate impact. What do you think your immediate impact could be as a wide receiver in the NFL? I don't want to put any ceilings on what, you know, I could do, you know, next year. But hopefully, you know, my mindset is just wherever I go, just help the team win, you know, to reach our team goals and to contribute to winning right off the bat. And, you know, I'm excited and I'm ready for that challenge. Last thing I'll ask you before we talk about the partnership and the good work you're doing with Tide, Jackson Smith and Jigba here with us at Yelp Show on CBS Sports Radio live in Kansas City. I love asking this question to prospects and guys are getting ready to hear their name called.

If I'm a GM and I say why should I trust one of my first round picks in Jackson Smith and Jigba, what's the answer? I would just say I'm the most competitive person in this draft, honestly. You know, I love to compete and I've been competing my whole life and, you know, my mindset is to come to the league and compete and have my name up there with the most dominant receivers in the game right now. I'm a team player. I'm a player that you can put literally anywhere and just put the ball in my hands and I'm gonna go to work. And, you know, I feel like, you know, in the right system with the right guys, you know, that can be very valuable and very dangerous.

And, you know, good guy off the field, you know, love the teammates, you know, love good energy and, you know, love to win most importantly. Tell me about the work you're doing today with Tide. Tide, they're making sure my stuff is steamed and clean. You know, I got to make sure I'm looking good tomorrow.

You know, can't have any wrinkles, stains, none of that. So we're making sure everything is taken care of right now. Tomorrow when you hear your name called and you're making that walk across the stage, just what are those emotions you think you're gonna be feeling? I have no idea.

I have no idea. It's hard to think about. But I know I'm gonna be excited. I'm gonna be ready. But, you know, I've been dreaming about this for a long time and for it to be here, it is a little overwhelming. So I'm just gonna try to enjoy it with my family and just kick back, relax and see who calls. Well, enjoy it once again.

That's Jackson Smith and Jigba on behalf of Tide and also inside the P&G Style Lounge. We appreciate the time. Appreciate you. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-26 22:50:49 / 2023-04-26 22:57:12 / 6

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