MTSU senior wide receiver and point guard Tavarres Jefferson is one of the few student-athletes in the nation who is playing two sports this season.
Back in the fall, he helped lead the football team to an 8-5 record and a trip to the Armed Forces Bowl. Currently, he is a member for a basketball team, which is tied for first place in Conference USA heading into this week’s action.
Since arriving on campus back in 2009, Jefferson’s goal was to play two sports, and the Blue Raiders were the only program which would let him achieve it. Back in 2011, he also played on both teams, and he has enjoyed every minute of it.
“When I came here, I decided to play two sports,” Jefferson said after basketball practice on Feb. 17. “So, I talked to head football coach (Rick) Stockstill and head basketball coach (Kermit) Davis. This was the only place I would be able to play basketball and football. Davis let me come back out after the football season, and I have loved every minute of it.”
During the football season, Jefferson played in all 13 games and had seven starts, including the bowl game. He led the Blue Raiders with 41 receptions for 532 yards and five touchdowns. Ten of those catches were for 20 or more yards, and 31 out of the 41 grabs went for first downs or touchdowns. He ranks fourth on the all-time receptions list at MTSU with 131 for 1,384 yards.
However, his most memorial moment of the 2013 football season came on national television on Oct. 24 at home against Marshall.
After only having one reception during the entire game heading into the final drive, which MTSU needed a touchdown to win, Jefferson had six catches. More importantly, he snagged the game-winner as time expired for the 51-49 victory.
“That was probably the greatest moment for me,” Jefferson said. “The best moment was that entire drive. I told (quarterback Logan Kilgore) to give me the chance to make a play, and basically it was not a fancy play call.
"Offensive coordinator (Buster) Faulkner just told me to run to the end zone and look for Kilgore. We made it happen and that was phenomenal. I will never forget that moment.”
After the football season ended on Dec. 30 with a loss to Navy in the bowl game, Jefferson joined the basketball team as a back-up point guard.
His first game was against UAB on Jan. 11, and he made his only start against North Texas on Jan. 25. He is coming off a two-assist performance in seven minutes of action in an 81-64 win over Southern Mississippi on Feb. 15.
Murphy Center holds a special place for Jefferson, and he really made his mark as a high school senior at The Ensworth School during the 2009 TSSAA State Basketball Tournament. He helped lead Ensworth to a state title after combining for 57 points in two games, including nine 3-pointers.
Both Davis and Stockstill have enjoyed coaching Jefferson during his time at MTSU.
“He is a special,” Stockstill said. “He is special to me as a person and as a player. He has overcome a couple of injuries. He is a great competitor, and he loves the game. There is no moment that is too big for him, and there is no stage that is too big for him. I respect him as a player and as a person."
Added Davis: “It is really amazing because he has not played a lot of basketball. To come in when he did right in the heat of the season, he has played against some quality teams. He has given us some great depth, great minutes, and he has been really good in practice.”
Jefferson graduated in December with a degree in Marketing, and he will take part in the MTSU (football) pro day in the next few weeks. He also said he has a couple of opportunities for internships when the semester ends.