Thomas Ashworth, Correspondent
From walk-on to Super Bowl champion, former Jacksonville State wide receiver Josh Pearson hoisted the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers routed the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs 31-9.
Pearson served most of the season on Tampa Bay’s practice squad, but suited up for their week 5 game against the Chicago Bears. During practice, he was seen catching passes from legendary quarterback Tom Brady, who earned his seventh Super Bowl ring following the win on Sunday.
“We’re just so proud of Josh,” said JSU head football coach John Grass. “We’ve been proud of him long before this. I’m glad he’s getting the opportunity to further his career. It couldn’t have happened to a better person.”
Tampa Bay has a roster filled with huge names, especially on offense. Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Rob Grownkowski are a few names that highlight the talented, former All-Pro filled offense.
Asked about the opportunity Pearson was given to work with such a great group of players, Grass had nothing but positive things to say.
“I think it’s such a great way to start out in the league,” said Grass. “You’re learning from some guys that are just professionals and future hall of fame guys. What better way to hone your craft in from being around those guys every day? I’m sure Josh has soaked up every moment of that as a player. You just can’t put a price tag on that.”
During his time as a Gamecock, Pearson put up huge numbers, recording 126 catches for 943 yards and 30 touchdowns in 26 games at JSU. His 30-touchdown mark is a JSU record, and he is ranked fourth at JSU in all-time receptions and receiving yards.
His 17 touchdowns in 2018 led FCS football and set a new school record and earned him First Team All-OVC and First Team FCS All-American honors.
In 2019, his 13 touchdown receptions were the second-most in one season at JSU, trailing only his own record set the previous year. He also hauled in 943 yards on 59 catches and earned Second Team All-OVC honors.
“He was more than just a football player here,” said Grass. “He impacted, as I’m sure he’s still doing in Tampa, the community itself. He just brings such an energy to people and has such a giving heart. He was plugged into our whole community.”