Van Jefferson, a 6’3”, 180-pound junior wide receiver from Ravenwood in Brentwood, Tenn. knows where he’d like to play his college football. Yes, he still has a couple of years of high school ball to play, but if this one certain school in the ACC offers, it could be all over.
We’ll get back to that in a minute.
Jefferson knows a little bit about the wide receiver position. His father, Shawn Jefferson, is a former NFL receiver that logged 195 games in the league and made appearances in two Super Bowls. Shawn is now the wide receivers coach for the Tennessee Titans.
“I’m very blessed to have my dad,” Van Jefferson said. “I thank God for him every day. He’s always on my butt telling me not to settle for being good but to always strive for being great.
“I just take that advice in and try to get better everyday. My dad will give me advice on my routes. We will come up here to the school and do cone drills.
“My dad tells me that to be a great wide receiver it starts with the mindset. You have a DB in front of you and you have to want to dominate him. I’m getting the ball and you’re not. That’s what it takes. He also tells me that I need to be physical."
Jefferson, a 3-star prospect, according to 247Sports, has already pocketed a few scholarship offers. The first offer came from the Vanderbilt Commodores.
“I was surprised when Vandy offered,” Jefferson said. “I love Vanderbilt. I love Coach (Josh) Gattis and I love Coach (James) Franklin. I was excited to get that first offer. I’ll be at Vanderbilt next week (Aug. 29) for the there game with Ole Miss.”
The ‘Dores aren't the only school that feels Jefferson has the tools to be a dominating wideout at the next level.
“Tennessee, Penn State and MTSU have also offered me a scholarship.” Jefferson said.
“I went to Tennessee for an unofficial visit and their facilities are pretty nice. I also went over to MTSU to check that out. I also went to Happy Valley to check out Penn State. My former teammate, Allen Robinson, from Orchard Lake (Mi.) St. Mary’s is at Penn State. It was pretty cool seeing Beaver Stadium and the campus.”
Jefferson couldn't stop complimenting his teammates at Ravenwood for helping him with his transition to a new part of the country and a new school—a transition that Raptors head coach Will Hester said has been very smooth thus far.
“Van has been a phenomenal teammate,” Coach Hester said. “The kids in the locker room have fallen in love with him and that’s huge. Everyone is cheering for him. There’s nobody jealous of the attention he’s been getting and that’s great.”
We asked Hester what makes Jefferson a blue-chip prospect.
“Obviously Van has been well drilled,” Hester said. “His daddy has coached him up since he was little. He runs the routes as well as any receiver I’ve ever coached. Van is polished and we expect great things from him.
“Van has had a wonderful summer on the camp circuit, he has gotten a lot of attention, and now it’s time to get on the field and live up to it.
"Van’s understanding of the game and his football IQ are off the charts. He knows where to sit down in zone coverage and things of that nature. I still think he needs to put on a little more weight. He’s a little thin; I think Van can easily add 20 pounds to his frame. Once he gets in the weight room and gets stronger, he’ll be unbelievable.”
Hester is from Williamson county. He played and coached at Brentwood High School before taking over at Ravenwood this year. We asked him where Jefferson ranks among the great wide receivers all time in the Nashville area.
“Van’s got to be right there with the best.” Hester explained. “There’s Quinton Patton, who was drafted by the 49ers this year. The list is pretty short after that. Van has the potential to be the best to come out of Middle Tennessee.”
Jefferson said although he doesn’t have a scholarship offer, he’d like to hear from USC, Arkansas, Michigan and Michigan State, but remains open. However, if Clemson offers, it could be a short recruitment for Jefferson.
“I’ve never been to Clemson, but they are my No. 1 right now.” Jefferson said.
“I really like Clemson. I love Chad Morris and Dabo Swinney. Seeing Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins and all those guys running down that hill on Saturday. It’s pretty special. I can’t wait to get over there to watch a game.
“Clemson and Tennessee are my favorites right now.”
The Tigers and the Vols lead right now, but other top programs will have plenty of time to get Jefferson interested in their program. For now, Jefferson is focused on Friday night’s game against Stuart Creek.
“Oh man, I can’t wait to get out there.” Jefferson said. “I’m ready to play for my teammates, my coaches and my God. I can’t wait for Friday night.”
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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