Richard Jefferson, a senior at Ferriday High School, practices baton hand-offs with his teammate Cailyn Glenn, left, during track practice Wednesday afternoon in the FHS gym. Jefferson also played football in the fall. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

Scholar athlete: Richard Jefferson

Published 12:01am Thursday, March 22, 2012


ferriday — It’s not scoring a touchdown, making a three-point basket or racing across the finish line first that draws Ferriday High School senior Richard Jefferson to the sports he plays.

Jefferson just loves being a member of a team, and that is what drove him to choose the career path he plans on taking next year at Louisiana College.

“I love playing sports and being on teams,” Jefferson said. “I’ve always been on a team, and I love being a team player.”

Jefferson will attend Louisiana College to play defensive back on the Wildcats football team, and he will study athletic training in hopes of remaining part of a team when his playing days are over.

“I really have been in sports all my life, and athletic training will help me be around (sports injuries) to learn more about it, so when people get hurt, I can help.”

Jefferson said he hopes to eventually be a trainer for a professional sports organization.

Jefferson was a two-way player for the Trojan football team in the fall — playing both quarterback and defensive back. He also played for the Ferriday basketball team and is now in the middle of track season for the Trojans.

But Jefferson said all of those sports come second in his mind.

“Grades come first,” he said. “Without the grades I can’t play (sports).”

Jefferson has maintained a busy schedule during his senior season. He has had a sport to play or practice every afternoon since football season, and he still has to get his schoolwork done each evening. He said when things get tough he leans on his mother, Deborah Harbor, and his grandmother, Shelly Washington, for motivation.

“The main advice they give me is to let the Lord handle everything, which I’ve done,” he said. “They tell me to always pray every night, don’t miss my praying and never forget where you come from.”

Jefferson currently has a 3.0 GPA at Ferriday, and he made an 18 on his ACT.

Jefferson said his favorite subject in school is history because he likes learning about where people come from and why things are the way they are.

He plans on minoring in education once he gets to Louisiana College because along with his love for sports he also has a love for teaching children.

“I love helping kids,” he said. “When I was raised up everyone wanted to help with my dreams, so now I want to help kids with their dreams as well.”

Jefferson said he hopes to become a great defensive back at Louisiana College, and he thinks his experience playing quarterback at Ferriday will help him become a better defensive player.

“I really want to be a big time defensive back and help the team win rings and a (Division III) national championship,” he said.

Until then, Jefferson said he just hopes to enjoy his last days as a high school senior.

“I’m just enjoying my last couple of months and trying to finish my grades very strongly,” he said.

  • Anonymous

    Keep up the good work RJ..You can’t go wrong in life without the main backup plan like mama say, Prayer first, I know from experience that a good spirited person always end on top even when life gives you ups & downs. Good luck young man & always love our mamas ;) .