Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is interviewed during opening night for the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game at Xcel Energy Center on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -
Kingsley Walker has known Alshon Jeffery ever since he was a young boy. From their days playing backyard football until now, Walker has fond memories of his cousin’s gridiron accomplishments during his days in Saint Matthews and Columbia.
“I’ve seen him in high school, college, NFL,” Walker said. “He’s on a whole nother (sic) level.”
Jeffery won more than 100 games and four consecutive state titles as a basketball star, but his talent on the football field led him to USC. Even as a high-profile star, Jeffery was as easy going as they come.
“Others just liked to be around him just to hang around him,” Calhoun County High School Principal Barry Charley said. “You’d be in the cafeteria during lunch back in 2007-2008, just to watch him, how others followed around him, respected him, he respected them, the way he’s carried himself. He’s a soft-spoken guy but his presence meant a lot.”
Ross Smith coached Jeffery during his senior year. From the first time he saw Jeffery take the field, he knew he was special.
“Alshon is gifted with abilities that I didn’t coach him to have those abilities,” Smith said. “I guess it was my job just to work on the fundamentals: the stance, the start, his blocking. He’s already got great hands and great awareness. I think just playing basketball actually helped him playing football a good bit. I can’t take a whole lot of credit for a lot of the things that he’s done. I just tried to refine the technique a little bit.”
He tells his students that Jeffery always has always been humble and his work ethic has been a shining example for students.
“It definitely lets them know that whatever your dreams are that they can come true. Just hard work. Just have to point out that he’s worked really hard to get where he’s at.”
Many people in Saint Matthews will be rooting for Jeffery and the Eagles to bring home the trophy. Walker is no different -- even though he’s been a longtime New England fan.
“I really wish New England would’ve lost now to the Jaguars so I wouldn’t even have to be going through this,” Walker admitted, “but I just want to see him get a ring.”
Super Bowl LII can be seen on WIS this Sunday. Coverage starts at noon and kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m.
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