Instead of waiting until the fall to decide where he wanted to attend college, Guyer wide receiver Ellis Jefferson has eliminated any suspense and made his choice well before the football season begins.
Jefferson orally committed to Arizona State on Saturday afternoon while making an unofficial visit to Tempe, Ariz. He is the third Guyer football player in the class of 2013 to commit, joining Patrick Morris (TCU) and John Schilleci (North Texas). The class of 2012 produced nine recruits, including six who signed with Football Bowl Subdivision programs.
Oral commitments are nonbinding. The first day class of 2013 recruits can sign national letters of intent is Feb. 6.
“It takes a lot of pressure off my mind,” Jefferson said Saturday. “I can focus up on football now and just doing good this season.”
Guyer head coach John Walsh said he’s known for a couple of years that Jefferson was going to end up at a major program.
“You’re careful as a coach promising anything to a kid, but he’s honestly one of those guys, since he was a freshman, we’ve been telling him, ‘You take care of your business, you’re going to have a good choice of schools,’” Walsh said. “It’s not one of those that snuck up on us.
“We knew he had the ability and had the talent. This is not something that was a secret to anybody. We knew this was coming.”
The 6-4, 200-pound wide receiver is Guyer’s No. 1 receiver going into next season. He assumed that role after Conner Crane graduated and headed to Stanford.
Last season, Jefferson was a second-team All-District 7-5A selection, hauling in 38 passes for 677 yards and five touchdowns.
Jefferson said he received at least 11 offers to play college football, including ones from Colorado, Purdue, Wake Forest and Vanderbilt.
“I’ve always watched [ASU] on TV,” Jefferson said. “My parents liked it out here. They’ve been out here before, and it’s real nice weather. It’s not humid like Texas.”
Walsh said that when opposing teams set their game plan for Guyer next season, keeping Jefferson in check will certainly be a task to undertake. Walsh said Jefferson’s combination of size and strength has enabled him to become a valued asset.
“Usually when you’re the size he is, you’re not a vertical threat, because he is a physical receiver,” Walsh said. “From the line of scrimmage to about 10 to 15 yards, he is as physical as there is. But if I want to send him on a post route or a fade route, he can get behind most high school corners.”
Jefferson said he talked to students and coaches before making his decision, questioning them about the pros and cons of attending ASU. The players told Jefferson that the coaches are always keeping in touch with the players and checking on them, and that even with the time football takes up, there’s still room to be a college student.
The Guyer senior said he would have liked to go a closer school. However, Jefferson turned down an offer from UNT.
“I just felt more comfortable out in Arizona,” Jefferson said. “Ever since I’ve been growing up, I’ve lived in Denton and I’ve known about UNT, and everyone just graduates and goes there. I just wanted to start something new.”
While he still has a year of high school left, Jefferson’s already set his aspirations high for when he dons a Sun Devil uniform.
“I want to accomplish being the best receiver that they had in history,” Jefferson said. “I want to do big things here. I just can’t wait to play.”
BEN BABY can be reached 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is email@example.com .