St. Xavier High School's Bobby Jefferson a Force on Defensive Line

 Photo courtesy Alex Vehr For the Enquirer

Photo courtesy Alex Vehr For the Enquirer

By Adam Baum, abaum@enquirer.com

Bobby Jefferson didn’t begin playing football until he arrived at St. Xavier High School four years ago as a freshman. 

Before he grew into a 6-foot-3, 250-pound gem on the Bombers’ defensive line, where he’s a rare combination of size, speed and physicality, Jefferson wanted to play quarterback. 

“With my dad, the thing was always, ‘You can go play freshman football if you want to,’” said Jefferson, now a three-sport star at St. X, who strictly played basketball growing up. “Of course, I’m like, ‘Yeah, I want to play.’ I actually came in freshman year thinking I wanted to be a quarterback, so that’s what I was for probably a month and then I figured out that’s not for me. 

“Well, Chase (Wolf), obviously. I figured he’s a great quarterback; I’m not gonna be able to play here much. Then I really started to like pass-rushing.” 

St. Xavier head coach Steve Specht said with Jefferson’s size, it became clear he was destined for a different position, and four years later, he’s a force on the defensive line. 

“Bobby is a very talented (defensive end). Not so much as a (quarterback),” said Specht. “He’s a great kid that continues to grow and get better. I don’t think I would say I’m surprised because Bobby is very gifted athletically and is very intelligent. That combination has allowed him to pick things up quickly.”

The upside of Jefferson isn’t merely that he’s proven he can play, but he’s proven he can pick up an entirely new sport and thrive. There is still more to learn, and room to improve, which is why he’s already collected college football offers from Toledo, Central Michigan, Ball State, Eastern Kentucky, Mercy, Pennsylvania, Western Michigan and Youngstown State. 

Although, a football field isn’t the only area Jefferson has stood out. In addition to playing college football — Jefferson will likely wait until after the season to announce a destination — the soft-spoken big man aspires to follow one of this off-field passions and study elementary education. 

Jefferson said he’s always been interested in education, but it’s his family dynamic at home that has helped him hone an uncommon skill for someone still in high school. 

Jefferson’s mom went to Greenhills High School, while his father is from Atlanta, Georgia. Jefferson has three sisters, one he shares a birthday with in twin sister, Sydney, a senior at Mount Notre Dame who also throws shotput and discus like her brother. Bobby’s middle sister, Jules, is a sophomore at MND and she runs track and plays soccer. His youngest sister, Elle, was born with Down Syndrome, and Jefferson said the three older siblings all have a strong relationship with her. 

“I’ve always been pretty good with younger kids,” said Bobby. “I do feel like having a younger sister with special needs has equipped me better than I would say most people, to deal with younger kids.” 

Specht said, “Bobby has expressed an interest in teaching grade school kids. I think that speaks volumes about who he is as a person. Bobby has a big heart and cares about people. As big as Bobby is physically, his heart is bigger. He understands the need to continue to grow as a young man and football player but he also understands that football is not who he is, it is simply what he does. Bobby cares about people. 

“I see a quiet patience in Bobby and a true desire to please others. Is that the results of having a little sister with special needs, wonderful parents or a combination of both? Bobby would have to answer that, but he does understand that was in this together and that he wants to leave things better than he finds them. Bobby champions the little guy. I think I’m most proud of him for that.”