PREP FOOTBALL: Marshall’s Jefferson Lee V signs letter of intent to play football at South Dakota State
MARSHALL – Wednesday marked the official start to the signing period for high school athletes across the country, and another Marshall Tiger inked their name to extend their athletic career.
Marshall running back Jefferson Lee V officially signed his National Letter of Intent to play college football with South Dakota State University, and the senior is relieved to finally have this day come.
“It’s really nice; it’s nice to be done with the process knowing that you found a good place to go to school, a place that will welcome you as you wish and that you’ll know you’ll find success in,” Lee V said.
Lee V has been the primary ballcarrier for the Tigers over the past few seasons, helping guide Marshall to three trips to the state tournament. This past season, he ran for 1,706 yards and 32 touchdowns. In his career, Lee V scored 108 total touchdowns and 99 rushing touchdowns, breaking nearly every record set before him.
Marshall coach Terry Bahlmann said those accolades and records are a nice finishing touch to an outstanding career for Lee V.
“Jefferson’s had a great career for us,” Bahlmann said. “We thought Beau Bofferding set the bar high for records and things, but Jefferson blew those things away and he finished his career second in state history in touchdowns and rushing touchdowns, so he’s had an amazing career and I’m sure he’ll be really successful at SDSU.”
Lee V said what drew him to the Jackrabbits was the atmosphere of the program and school and knew it was an instant place for him to be supported.
“After I visited the campus, I fell in love with the players, the coaches and the community and the school itself,” Lee V said. “I knew that they were the type of people that would help me succeed and follow my dreams and goals.”
Bahlmann said their goal as a coaching staff was just helping him grow as a person and player throughout the last four years and guide him to the player he is today.
“I think it was just growing him as a person; his parents did a great job with him, but coming in and learning the game of football and dedicating himself,” Bahlmann said. “He’s obviously a very talented player and got to play early on, but it’s just about taking his game to the next level and become the player and person he is.”
Lee V said he can take a lot away from what he’s learned throughout the last four years at Marshall and the football program. He said he plans on majoring in biology and is thinking about going to medical school.
“Hard work and just strive to be better every day,” Lee V said. “And then continuing to study and keep up my education.”
Lee V will have a familiar face, however, when he steps foot on campus next fall: former teammate Reece Winkelman currently plays for the Jackrabbits at defensive end. Bahlmann said he’s looking forward to watching Lee V and Winkelman at SDSU next season and the battles they’ll have with their former quarterback in Trey Lance.
“I’m looking forward to watching Trey at NDSU and Reece and Jefferson at SDSU, those are going to be some great battles over the next few years,” Bahlmann said.
Bahlmann added next season will be challenging for the Tigers from an offensive standpoint, as Marshall loses 11 players from this season.
“We’ll have some challenges on our offense; we’ll lose Jefferson of course, it was always nice to call a play and know that Jefferson could take it 80 yards any second,” Bahlmann said. “But we lose all of our starters on offense after having 11 seniors, so it’ll be challenging to replace all of them. I don’t think you can expect the next guy to be the next Jefferson, but it’ll be just a little bit different there.”
Lee V said he’s looking forward to getting his education and path to medical school started as well as being able to step on the gridiron for a few more years.
“I’d say it’s probably just starting my education and the actual road of accomplishing my dreams of getting into medical school and then continuing to play football,” Lee V said.