Since taking the FIU job two years ago, Butch Davis secured the number one recruiting class in Conference USA last season and is on his way to build yet another superb group of players for the 2019 class.
Electric playmaker Nate Jefferson is the latest recruit to sign with the Panthers.
Jefferson finishes his prep career with over 3,500 all-purpose yards and 31 touchdowns in three seasons for Lyman High School in Longwood, Florida.
The dynamic three-star wide receiver chose FIU over North Carolina, Iowa State and UAB.
His commitment instantly assures that FIU will have one of the fastest players in the state. Jefferson is clocked in at 4.38 in the 40-yard dash and runs a 10.9 in the 100-meter dash.
Despite being one of the top players in talent rich Central Florida, he wasn’t highly recruited till his senior season due to his size.
Jefferson spoke with me about the recruitment process, why he chose FIU over larger programs and how he almost gave up football.
1. Can you talk a little bit about your recruiting process and what sold you on FIU?
Jefferson: FIU really felt like home when I went down on the unofficial visit. But the thing that sold me the most was the bond I developed with the coaches and the players. They have a real family atmosphere.
2. What are your biggest strengths and what parts of your game can you work on?
Jefferson: I feel like my strengths are that I can learn the game quickly and I that I’m quick and fast. I try to use those things to my advantage. But I can work on routes, hand eye coordination, and just perfecting my craft.
3. You played running back this year in addition to wide receiver. How has playing those two different positions helped you as a player?
Jefferson: Playing running back helped me in finding out that in the game of football you will have to make sacrifices for your team. Also, it helped me with understanding other positions on the field outside of my own.
4. How important is speed to your game as a wide receiver?
Jefferson: Speed is important because as a wide receiver you want to make defensive backs uncomfortable in your routes. With speed it makes it a lot easier to get behind the secondary.
5. The 2019 recruiting class includes you as well as three-star QB Stone Norton out of Nashville, Tennessee. Have you had a chance to talk to Stone or any other players committed to FIU?
Jefferson: Yes I have. Stone and the other boys seem like they’re great players and I feel we all have the chance to do special things together at FIU.
6. You’re listed at 5’11, 170-pounds. How challenging has it been as a smaller player to get recognized despite your stats being very good?
Jefferson: It has been very challenging to a point where I really thought about giving up football. But I just had to have patience and prayed to god and let the chips fall where they may.
7. Who is Nate Jefferson off the field?
Jefferson: Off the field, I’m laid-back. When I’m not playing football I like to be with my friends. I like to play paint-ball, go to the movies, and eat. I am an adventurous person and I enjoy trying new things and getting out of my comfort zone a little. But I also take my academics very seriously when I’m not on the field.
8. What do you want FIU fans to know about you as a player?
Jefferson: As I player I want them to know I am a competitor. I will do anything it takes to win. I feel like I am a leader and I try to make others around me better. I want them to know I will work my hardest to provide for my brothers and the Panther community.