The Rose Bowl wasn't Jaxon Smith-Njigba's 1st 300-yard game

The Rose Bowl wasn't Jaxon Smith-Njigba's 1st 300-yard game


The Rose Bowl wasn't Jaxon Smith-Njigba's 1st 300-yard game


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In what will go down as an all-time Rose Bowl, Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba had a record-breaking performance, being named Offensive MVP after recording 15 receptions for 347 yards and three touchdowns.

Six of his catches went for at least 30 yards and his total receiving yardage is most in FBS bowl history, according to SI.

It’s a performance that will be remembered by diehard Ohio State fans and casual college football fans alike, but this isn’t Smith-Njigba’s first time breaking the 300-yard mark in a single-game.

In high school, the former five-star Rockwell (Texas) High School receiver hit that mark twice and flirted with it a handful more.

Here are some of his top performances in high school, in order of receiving yardage.

All stats via Maxpreps.

Nov. 1, 2019: 327 yards

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Eight games into his senior season, Smith-Njigba was well on his way to being named to the All-USA First Team when he posted the highest receiving total of his high school career.

The receiver recorded 327 yards and four touchdowns on nine receptions in a 66-42 win over Mesquite (Texas) High School. Tack on his 18 rushing yards, and Smith-Njigba’s total Rose Bowl yardage was only two higher than this performance.

In total, Rockwall recorded 16 receptions and 422 receiving yards in the game. Smith-Njigba did the bulk of the damage.

Aug. 30, 2019: 311 yards

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Smith-Njigba entered his senior year with fire on his mind, recording 311 yards and three touchdowns on 13 receptions in the season opener. It was one of the most high-powered offensive showdowns of the season, with the two teams combining for 1,057 passing yards and 451 rushing yards.

Rockwall fell just short on the scoreboard, losing 66-59 to Highland Park (Dallas, Texas).

That was just the start of senior year for Smith-Njigba. Over his first four games, he had a 311-yard showing, a 201-yard performance and a 157-yard game. He had 11 total touchdowns over those first four games. He suffered an injury on the first offensive snap of Week 5 and did not play Week 6, but even without those two games, he recorded more than 2,000 receiving yards that season. We’ll have more on this later.

Sept. 28, 2018: 289 yards

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Smith-Njigba’s excellent start to his senior season wasn’t particularly surprising after his junior year. The receiver very nearly reached 300 yards in his fourth game of the junior season, recording 289 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 13 receptions. He added 36 rushing yards and another touchdown on the ground, accounting for three of the five touchdowns in Rockwall’s 42-35 loss to Longview (Texas). He had all but 55 of the team’s receiving yards.

Nov. 23, 2018: 267 yards

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Playoff pressure didn’t get to Smith-Njigba. When Rockwall faced Allen, one of the premier teams in the state and nation, the receiver put the team on his back, recording 14 receptions for 267 yards and three touchdowns, including an 81-yard screen pass that went for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.

Rockwall fell 52-40 and Allen reached the semifinals, but it set the stage for a huge senior season — and another massive postseason performance against Allen.

Sept. 8, 2017: 263 receiving yards

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Smith-Njigba burst onto scene as a sophomore, recording nine receptions for 112 yards against Highland Park in the opener before outdoing himself with 263 yards on 11 receptions in the second game, a 48-41 loss to Rowlett (Texas). He finished with three total touchdowns and garnered attention as a true star prospect after limited opportunity his freshman season.

He wouldn’t cross the 200-yard threshold again that season, but he broke 100 yards in six of his 12 games as he finished with 83 receptions for 1,328 yards.

Nov. 22, 2019: 258 yards

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One year after losing to Allen in the playoffs, Smith-Njigba got his vengeance. He recorded 15 receptions for 258 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for one more in the 60-59 win over Allen to get through the second round. This time, it was Rockwall that advance to the semifinals.

Smith-Njigba’s six total touchdowns set a career-high that he would match two weeks later in a 59-42 win in the quarterfinals.

Overall, he finished his senior season with 109 receptions, 2,132 receiving yards, 34 receiving touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns.

It was a storied high school career to start a legacy that he has continued to build upon at Ohio State.


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