People are starting to take notice of Darnell Jefferies.
Not that it’s particularly easy to miss him. Standing at 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds, Jefferies is an imposing presence on and off the football field for the Newton Rams. The Covington native is a Peachtree Ridge transfer, and his first season back in his stopping grounds was a good one.
Jefferies registered 76 total tackles, including 33 solo stops. He had two quarterback sacks, a fumble recovery and 42 quarterback hurries during his junior season.
And this past Monday and Tuesday, a pair of Division I schools from a Power Five conference confirmed their watchful eye, followed by an offer from an SEC power.
First it was Virginia Tech who offered on Monday. The 19th ranked Hokies will take on No. 3 Clemson Saturday in the ACC Championship game. Then on Tuesday, Georgia Tech followed with its own offer just several days removed from a win over archrival Georgia.
Jefferies promptly took to Twitter to express his gratitude.
“I love this game,” he said. “I promise to keep grinding in the classroom and on the field.”
But then Thursday afternoon, an offer came down from the Tennessee Volunteers, making it three in the last four days.
Off of social media, he elaborated on what it meant to get those first two offers, and how it has buoyed his confidence going forward.
“I mean, it’s great. It’s great to get that attention and know that schools want me to play for them,” he said.
Jefferies, a product of Liberty Middle School, also shared how fortunate he felt he was to be able to come back to a good situation in his hometown.
“We didn’t have the best season last year when I was at Peachtree Ridge, so I just felt that coming back here would be a good fit for me,” he said. “Coach (Terrence) Banks and all my coaches have been great, and just have showed me how to be better on the field and coming off the ball.”
Typically the recruiting game kind of behaves like stacking dominoes. When one offer “falls,” others tend to follow suit. But none of that, Jefferies insists, will change his approach to the game.
“I don’t really have a favorite school or a particular school I want to offer me,” Jefferies said. “I just want to concentrate on getting better and to keep on improving. I’ve been playing football since I was little, and I always wanted to play in college. To know that I’ve got that chance makes me want to work harder.”