If you are a college football quarterback, it is hard to imagine a better name than Jawon Pass. As great of a name as it is, the Louisville quarterback also goes by the nickname “Puma Pass.” The origins of the name depends on who you ask, but it dates back to Pass’ early childhood.
“Everyone called me that since I was a baby,” Pass told the Ledger-Enquirer. “Even my teachers call me that. I don’t know, it just kind of stuck.”
Those close to Pass offer a few different explanations for the nickname, but all agree that he was given the name as a child. The potential explanations range from Pass’ propensity for climbing on things to The Lion King. The Courier-Journal detailed the origins (at least what is known) about his nickname.
Ask six people from Columbus how Puma got his nickname, and you’ll hear six different answers…Richard Reese, who coached Puma in football and basketball as a Carver assistant, thought it was because Puma had dark skin when he was born, like a black panther.
Puma’s mother, Kershena Thomas, said her cousin, Felecia, created the name because when he was younger, Puma was always “like a Puma cat, just running and climbing and jumping.” Maurice Pass, Puma’s father, said he thought the nickname came from Puma’s maternal grandmother, who got it from the character in “The Lion King.”
Carver High School principal Chris Lindsey said he assumed it was because of Puma’s speed. Puma himself said he did not know. It was a family nickname, and it stuck.
“I heard about him when he was in middle school,” Lindsey said. “Everybody kept talking about, ‘Puma, Puma, Puma, Puma, Puma.’ Who the hell is this Puma?”
Puma Pass Takes Over for Lamar Jackson as Louisville Quarterback
What is clear is the Lamar Jackson era at Louisville is over, and the Puma Pass era is beginning. Louisville fans are hoping Pass can follow in Jackson’s footsteps, but it is a hard road as Jackson was one of the best quarterbacks in school history. Pass enters the season having thrown just 33 passes in his college career.
Rivals ranked Pass as a four-star recruit coming out of high school and the No. 14 dual-threat quarterback in the country. Pass’ 20 offers included Alabama, Clemson, Florida, LSU and Miami. Pass enters the 2018 season with a lot of unknowns, but what we do know is Pass can hurt defenses with his legs just like Jackson. Here is how ESPN’s scouting report described his game coming out of high school.
Pass is like a ball of clay that needs to be molded. There is a lot to work with here talent-wise, but also a lot of technical work to be done. Must continue to develop knowledge of the game so that he can become a passer who is also an athlete as opposed to an athlete playing quarterback. Coaches will like his upside and rightly so. Is a good player that has a very high ceiling for development…There is a huge physical upside here. Possesses outstanding measurable. Is a strong-armed athlete with the size and physical tools to develop into an upper-tier QB prospect. When a play breaks down, he has the athletic ability to escape outside the pocket and make plays on the run. Can be a designated runner and should develop into a premier zone read operator.