10 Questions with Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

The origin of JuJu Smith-Schuster’s name is almost as fascinating as his spectacular rookie season.

“My actual name is John, so it went from John to JoJo, then kinda went from Choo Choo as a train, and then JuJu stuck, and since then, it’s been my name my whole life,” Smith-Schuster told Steelers.com. “Coaches, friends, teammates and teachers call me JuJu.”

Not only that but JuJu was simply JuJu Smith until 2015 when he added his stepfather’s name.

In a little over half a season, JuJu Smith-Schuster has become a household name for Steelers fans, social media consumers and fantasy owners alike.

At 20, Smith-Schuster is currently the NFL’s youngest player – he turns 21 on November 22nd – and his youthful exuberance has electrified the NFL. The second round pick has not only produced with five touchdowns and 521 receiving yards as part as a wide receiver corps that includes Antonio Brown and Martinis Bryant but he’s turned scoring into an art form. Along with  Brown, Le’Veon Brown and others, Smith-Schuster has helped orchestrate some of the league’s most creative touchdown celebrations.

His playful, carefree attitude has attracted a wide audience. Smith-Schuster’s @TeamJuJu Twitter audience of over 250,000 followed along as he reacted to his bike being stolen and then recovered, and more recently as he earned his driver’s license.

The former USC wideout recently launched a YouTube channel that already has over 20,000 subscribers (count us as one!) In an league always embroiled in controversy, Smith-Schuster is a refreshing bright spot.  He plays with such infectious joy and relishes his platform so much that Ravens fans aside, it’s almost impossible not to be Team JuJu.   We recently had a chance to ask Schuster about his social media presence, what he’d change about the NFL, his toughest opponent to date and more.


MJ: When you were drafted by Pittsburgh in the second round cameras stayed on you for almost two minutes because it was such an emotional scene. What was going through your head?

JSS: Honestly, I was just shocked. I didn’t really think I was going to be drafted here so when I got that call and realized it was Pittsburgh, I thought, ‘man, this is a blessing.’

MJ: How important was it for you and your development to come into a high-end franchise like Pittsburgh?

JSS: It was very important. I thought when you come in you have to produce for your team and to be able to get on the field early, you have to make plays. Me being young and all the negativity I got [coming out of college] that’s what I had to prove.

MJ: What has surprised you most about the NFL?

JSS: How much respect everyone has for each other. Not only that but the work ethic, how everyone worries about their business. You see different routines from people.

MJ: The hide and seek celebration was a classic. Describe the process of orchestrating these group celebrations. 

JSS: For that one [hide and seek] we had a meeting right before the game and then we did it, which worked out perfectly. For our celebrations we’ll probably meet the day before or the night before and just go over it.

MJ: Given your massive social media following, what is your expert opinion on the best thing about social media?

JSS: The best thing is that you can grow your brand and everything else.

MJ: The worst?

JSS:  You say one wrong thing and it’s on there forever.

MJ: What’s your favorite social media network and why? 

JSS: Snapchat because it comes and goes and you can see what people are doing instantly.

MJ: What is the one thing you’d change about the NFL if you could?

JSS: Probably more team bonding activity stuff or actually if you could do offseason 7-on-7 and travel the world or something like that.

MJ: What is the toughest secondary you’d faced this season?

JSS: I’ve played against a lot of good ones. I’d probably have to say the better defenses we’ve played are the Jaguars and the Bengals.

MJ: Any big plans for your big 21st birthday?

JSS: No, probably have dinner with the guys and see where we go from there.