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Justin Jeffery Won’t Be Outworked

By Barry Every
SouthernPigskin.com
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Last year the 6-foot-2, 165-pound two-way standout caught 22 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns while racking up 38 tackles, four PBU’s and a pick at corner.

While receiver Sam James of Richmond Hill (Ga.) has become a household name in South Georgia, teammate Justin Jeffery is just starting to spread his wings on the recruiting front. Last year the 6-foot-2, 165-pound two-way standout caught 22 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns while racking up 38 tackles, four PBU’s and a pick at corner.

“Somebody is going to get a jewel, he will really blossom by the time he is a sophomore in college,” Head Coach Matt LeZotte said. “He is a tall lanky guy that isn’t even near to filling out yet, and the crazy thing is he didn’t even play defense until August of last year.”

Jeffery currently has scholarship offers from Central Michigan, Charlotte, Eastern Kentucky, Liberty and Mercer. He is also receiving heavy interest from Georgia Southern and NC State. Most schools are recruiting him as a receiver.  The Wolfpack on the other hand see him as an athlete, maybe because Jeffery has similar physical qualities to former NC State star David Amerson.

“The two coaches that are making a great impression with me right now are Keith Henry of Charlotte and Kyle DeArmon of Liberty,” Jeffery said. “Coach Henry is like talking to someone that is a friend and Coach DeArmon sends me a ton of handwritten letters and text messages.”

He has had a busy spring investigating his opportunities in football; despite having been a key member of a Wildcat basketball squad that went (20-7). Jeffery has already made unofficial visits to Charlotte, Georgia Southern, NC State, South Carolina and Wake Forest.

There are still two schools he intends to visit in the next month. A date has been set for Samford on May, 20 and he is in the process of scheduling a time to visit Mercer.

On the camp circuit he recently competed in the Nike Regional Opening and the Rivals.com Three Stripe in Orlando. Back in March Jeffery earned DB MVP honors at the ESPFC Camp in Savannah. This weekend he plans on hitting the Rivals.com Speed Combine in Charlotte.  With the hopes of breaking the 4.5-second barrier in the 40-yard dash.

There are four colleges Jeffery plans on making one-day camp visits to this summer. Alabama, Georgia Southern, NC State and South Carolina coaching staffs will get a chance to evaluate him in person and decide whether he is a receiver or a ball-hawking safety.

One thing most colleges will not have to be concerned with is grades. He currently has a 2.9 GPA and made an 18 on the first take of the ACT. Jeffery plans on retaking the test in August with a goal of scoring a 21 or higher.

“I’m going to have to step up as a leader this year, as the season went on last year players became individuals and we slowly began to fall apart,” Jeffery said. “The bottom line is no position on our team is solid, no one is guaranteed a starting role. If you get outworked then that person will win the job.”

Though he hopes for more offers, spring ball is just around the corner in the state of Georgia. And if the Wildcats are to continue to improve, in the win column, they will need Jeffery to continue to leave his mark on both sides of the ball.

“He is truly buying into or coaching philosophy,” LeZotte said. “He understands that there are both football and life lessons to be learned, there are no givens. “There are 22 positions that need to be filled, the only way to earn a spot as a starter is through work ethic and attention to detail. I like the fact that he is not satisfied, and not willing to accept anything less from his teammates.”

College coaches may want to make a midweek appearance at Richmond Hill (Ga.) on May, 17. The Wildcats will be hosting county rival Pembroke (Ga.) Bryan County at 6:00 pm for their spring game extravaganza. Justin Edward Tyler Jeffery, aka The JET, will be showcasing his talents for all to see.