Born on December 1, 1986 in Los Angeles, Desean Jackson grew up in Crenshaw and attended the football powerhouse Long Beach Polytechnic High School, where he was a star wide receiver, ran track and played baseball for the Jackrabbits.
He was being scouted by the Tampa Bay Rays and the Phillies his senior year, but ultimately decided that football was his passion. In 2004 he received the Glenn Davis Award from the LA Times as the Southern California player of the year. At the end of his high school career he was voted MVP at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, catching 7 passes for 141 yards and passed for a 45 yard touchdown. ESPN ranked him as the number 4 wide receiver in the country.
He then moved on to the University of California, where after three seasons with the Golden Bears he departed holding first team Pac-10 records for punt returns and ranked third all-time at Cal for receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, and sixth all-time in receptions. Following being named an All-American return specialist his junior season in 2007, DeSean declared for the 2008 NFL Draft.
Life As A Pro
In 2008, DeSean was drafted 40th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles. He was the first rookie to start opening day, where he caught 6 passes for 106 yards and returned 8 punts for 97 yards. DeSean finished his first rookie season with two receiving touchdowns and a team-leading 62 receptions. He also led the NFL with 50 punt returns (an Eagles' rookie record and third all time). On Dec 19, 2010, he returned a punt for 65 yards in the final 14 seconds of the game against the NY Giants, running in for a touchdown as time expired. This “Miracle of the Newland Meadows” is the only game-winning punt return on the final play of scrimmage in the history of the NFL.
DeSean continued to shine for the Eagles, earning NFC Special Teams Player of the Week Honors and was ultimately rewarded for his 1,167-yard season with a bid to the 2010 Pro Bowl – as a wide receiver AND return specialist, marking history as the first athlete to be selected to the NFL Pro Bowl at two different positions. DeSean built off of his Pro-Bowl seasons in 2010 and 2011, marking his territory as the Eagles' leading receiver and one of the most threatening offensive weapons in the NFL. His hard work paid off in 2012 when he received a renewed contract with the Eagles, reinforcing his status as the team's backbone and continuing on to his third Pro Bowl in 2013.
In 2014, at the height of his career, DeSean parted ways with the Philadelphia Eagles and signed with the Washington Redskins in one of the most publicized transactions of the year. He made 142 receptions, 14 touchdowns and had 2 seasons where he ran for over 1,000 yards, being the 7th Redskin to do so.
Now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, DeSean has amassed countless accomplishments on the field.
Off the Field
Not only a star on the field, DeSean has made a name for himself off the field in the entertainment world as well. His interest in the music industry led him to launch his own record label, Jaccpot Records, where he excelled in rapping and producing. He and his music has been featured on MTV, MTV2, Yahoo Sports!, and on the pages of DUB Magazine and ESPN The Magazine.
DeSean's proudest accomplishments, however, lie in the immense amount of charity work that he does through his foundation, The DeSean Jackson Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer. After losing his father to a tragic battle with pancreatic cancer, DeSean and his mother, Gayle Jackson, teamed up to create a foundation dedicated to cancer awareness and helping both victims and families.
DeSean's philanthropic endeavors do not end with his own foundation; he has dedicated himself to assisting with a variety of anti-bullying initiatives, devoting countless hours to spreading the message of tolerance and friendship to both victims and culprits of bullying, and making himself available as a mentor and a friend. DeSean released a children's book called No Bullies in The Huddle, which has been very well received by the media, consumers and fans, and advocates messages of anti-bullying. In addition to his work with anti-bullying, DeSean is big on giving back to our US Troops and has donated $50,000 to the Homes For Wounded Warriors Project.