Many people know Justin Fields as the popular young quarterback of the NFL’s Chicago Bears. But how many people really know him beyond that? Below, we take a look at the life of Justin Fields to give you a better idea of the man behind the facemask.
Justin Fields’ Early Life
Justin Skyler Fields was born on March 5, 1999, to Gina Tobey and Ivant Fields in Kennesaw, Georgia, a northwest suburb of Atlanta. Fields attended Lost Mountain Middle School before starring in football and baseball at Harrison High School. Justin was a standout on the gridiron, throwing for 4,187 yards and 41 touchdowns to go along with 2,096 rushing yards and 28 rushing touchdowns in just 19 games as a starter. They honored Fields with the Mr. Georgia Football Award following his senior season.
Fields was a five-star recruit and the highest-rated dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2018 by ESPN as well as the top overall recruit. However, his first introduction to the public spotlight was a rocky one. In a game nationally televised by ESPN during his senior year, Fields suffered a broken finger that ended his season after just seven games and required surgery to repair.
The injury proved to be nothing but a small bump in the road. Fields initially committed to Penn State University but later reconsidered due to the distance from home and how difficult it would be for his family to come to see him play. He then chose to further his education and football career at the University of Georgia, where he enrolled early as a freshman in the spring of 2018 in order to get a head start on preparing for the fall football season.
University of Georgia
Fields served as the backup quarterback to Jake Fromm as a true freshman in 2018. But even in his backup role, Fields saw some significant playing time and appeared in 12 games for the Bulldogs. He threw for 328 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for another 266 yards and four touchdowns.
Fields threw his first collegiate touchdown pass in the season opener against Austin Peay. Against Tennessee, Fields rushed for a pair of touchdowns in a 38-12 victory. And against Massachusetts late in the season, he threw for 121 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 100 yards and a touchdown.
Despite some early success, Fromm had developed into one of the best collegiate quarterbacks in the country and still had two years of eligibility remaining. And Fromm’s stranglehold on the starting job presented an obstacle to Fields’ development as an NFL-caliber quarterback. After Georgia’s loss to Alabama in the 2018 SEC Championship Game, Fields announced his intention to transfer to Ohio State University.
Ohio State University
Fields won the starting quarterback job in his first season with the Buckeyes and led the team to a Big Ten Championship victory and a berth in the College Football Playoff. Fields finished third in Heisman Trophy voting and was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. He was also a first-team All-Conference selection.
Under Fields, the Buckeyes went 13-1 while he passed for 3,273 yards and 41 touchdowns, throwing just three interceptions. He also rushed for 484 yards and 10 scores. The team’s only loss was to Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal round.
Because the 2020 college football season was interrupted, the Big Ten Conference initially decided to cancel the season but later agreed to a shortened, Conference-only season. After the initial announcement to cancel the season, Fields launched a petition to urge the Big Ten to play that garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures.
Fields and the Buckeyes eventually played eight games in the 2020 season and again won the Big Ten Championship. Ohio State’s only loss of the season came to Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship after defeating Clemson in the semifinal round. Fields threw for 2,100 yards and 22 touchdowns while rushing for 383 yards and five touchdowns. He repeated as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.
In three seasons of college football, Fields went 20-2 as a starter and led his team to two playoff appearances while passing for 5,701 yards and 67 touchdowns with only nine interceptions. He also rushed for 1,133 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Fields still had one more year of college eligibility remaining. But he was also touted as one of the top prospects in the NFL Draft. One week after falling short in the national championship, Fields announced he was foregoing his senior year at Ohio State to enter the NFL Draft.
The Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears selected Fields with the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Fields was the fourth quarterback taken after Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance accounted for the first three picks, respectively. The Bears executed a trade with the New York Giants in order to move into the 11th spot and draft Fields. On June 10, 2021, Fields signed his rookie contract worth $18.8 million over four years.
Fields was named the second-string quarterback for the Bears, backing up the veteran Andy Dalton. However, it took only four plays into the regular season for Fields to get his first action. He scored a touchdown in his NFL debut, rushing in from five yards out while also completing two short passes in a 34-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
In Week 2, Fields was thrust into action again after Dalton went down with a knee injury. Fields completed six of his 13 passes in relief duty in a 20-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals and was named the starting quarterback for the following week’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
Fields’ first start in the NFL was a rocky one as the rookie was sacked nine times while completing only six of 20 passes in a 26-6 loss. However, Fields led the Bears to victory in the very next game — 24-14 against the Detroit Lions — and was named the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season. He finally threw his first touchdown pass of the season in a Week 5 win over the Las Vegas Raiders.
Fields recorded his first 100-yard rushing game in a Week 8 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, and in Week 9, he passed for a season-high 291 yards in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
However, injuries to his ribs and ankle ended Fields’ rookie campaign after just 10 starts under center. He showed considerable improvement in his second year in the NFL, and over the first 11 weeks of the season, he had increased his completion percentage, yards per attempt, passing touchdowns, quarterback rating, rushing yards per attempt, and rushing touchdowns.
Fields practices yoga, and he credited in-game deep breathing exercises taught by the team’s yoga instructor as a reason for his improved play during his second season. However, his sophomore campaign was derailed by a dislocated shoulder during the final minutes of Chicago’s Week 11 game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Things To Know About Justin Fields
There are a number of interesting things to know about Justin Fields.
- He was diagnosed with epilepsy in ninth grade and continues to take medication to manage the condition to this day. Fields does not have any seizures while he’s on his medication and says the condition has no effect on his ability to play football.
- His interests include playing Ping-Pong and golf, and he has a French Bulldog named Uno, who is named after Fields’ jersey number. He lists singing, dancing, and juggling as his secret talents.
- Fields excelled at baseball in high school as a shortstop and second baseman. Fields even discussed playing baseball at Ohio State with Buckeyes baseball coach Greg Beals and football coach Ryan Day. And Major League Baseball scouts inquired about Fields potentially playing baseball.
- Ivant, Fields’ father, played linebacker at Eastern Kentucky University and is a member of the Atlanta Police Department. Justin’s sister, Jaiden, plays softball for the University of Georgia.
- Fields starred in a Netflix documentary series while in high school titled “QB1: Beyond the Lights.” The show documents the high school football experience of top quarterbacks around the country and Fields’ senior season at Harrison High School was featured in the second season of the show. Interestingly enough, Jake Fromm, whom Fields backed up as quarterback during his lone season at Georgia, was also featured on the show.
- Fields’ family conducted a one-month vegan diet challenge in 2020. But for Justin, it ended up being a life-changing experience. He liked the way it made his body feel, and he adopted the diet full-time.
Now that you’ve gotten to know Justin Fields a little, you can show your support for the young quarterback by sporting his gear. Fanatics is your source for officially licensed sports apparel, sports collectibles, and memorabilia across all leagues and sports, including the Chicago Bears. Shop for Justin Fields merchandise including jerseys, autographs, photos, trading cards, and so much more at Fanatics.