NEW CASTLE —
JEFFRIES TO YSU
Youngstown State began recruiting Jeffries after his junior year with the Lancers.
“YSU was one the first schools to show interest,” said Jeffries, who’s considering accounting as a major. “They made their first offer after my junior year. I got to know (former YSU assistant head coach and current Iowa State offensive coordinator Mark) Mangino really well. He was my main recruiter. I felt really comfortable going there and that had a lot to do with my decision.
“At first, I said I wanted to get as far away from home as possible, but after talking with my parents more and more, I know they want to see me play. It’s good to know that if I need to get home in case of an emergency that I’m right here.”
Bucknell in Lewisburg, Pa., and a handful of Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference schools also showed interest.
“I just wanted to play at the highest level that I could,” Jeffries said. “I went to Bucknell to watch a game. I don’t know how I felt about the location. It was so far away and it was up in the mountains. Plus, they weren’t going to give me the scholarship money that YSU was giving me.”
Jeffries potentially will learn a new position at the collegiate level.
The Penguins likely will redshirt Jeffries this fall to allow him to gain weight and shift inside to either guard or tackle.
“They said they’re going to put me through their lifting program for the next year,” he said. “Most likely, I’m going to be a guard or a tackle. We’ll see how my body fills out and then we’ll go from there.
“I’m for whatever the team needs. Whatever they say, I’m not going to argue. If at all possible, I’d love to continue to play tight end, but I know the way they want my body to fill out so that I’m going to be close to 300 pounds. There aren’t too many 300-pound tight ends out there.”
Jeffries earned postseason awards for his efforts during his senior campaign.
The Pennsylvania Football News named Jeffries to its Class A all-state team as a defensive lineman, while the Big Seven coaches selected him as a first-team tight end and second-team defensive lineman.
“When I first came to Neshannock, Steven Jeffries had a lot of question marks surrounding him,” Mozzocio said. “Everybody I talked to wasn’t necessarily doubting him, but were like he’s a big kid, but .... That was always the answer I got about him.
“I sat Steven down right away and I laid it on the line. I told him what the conversations were and what people were saying. I said ‘Hey, we can stick with this or we can do something about it.’ Steven jumped right on board. He wanted to do something about it and prove something to people. We put a plan together and he stuck by it. He worked his tail off and had total dedication to the system and the program. He’s reaping the benefits of that hard work. I couldn’t be prouder of the young man and the dedication he’s put in to being a great football player.”