In the time Vincent Jeffries spent at Florida A&M University, he distinguished himself as a scholar, athlete and pillar in the community. On Sept. 27, 2017, the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced Jeffries as a semifinalist for the 2017 William V. Campbell Trophy.
The Campbell Trophy recognizes an exemplary individual in the classroom, on the football field and within the community. The trophy is awarded to the best scholar-athlete in the nation and for this it has been deemed the “Academic Heisman.”
Jeffries has always showcased great talent on the football field. In high school, Jeffries was recognized as having the most wins for a quarterback and career passing touchdowns in school history.
After high school, Jeffries extended his talents to the collegiate level. He remained close to home for a brief stint, at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Then transferred to Santa Rosa Junior College in California. While attending Santa Rosa, Jeffries was attributed Conference Player of the Week and Student Athlete of the Week.
In his sophomore year at Santa Rosa, Jeffries was recruited by FAMU. It was at this point in Jeffries college career when his contribution extended beyond the football field and into the classroom and the community.
Academics were at the top of Vincent's priorities as a student at FAMU.
“I knew that in the end, football is only temporary, you can’t play it forever but your degree will hold to your name forever,” Jeffries said. “I made sure every single day I was in class. If it was raining, I was the kid with soaked clothes and a half-broken umbrella. It was a priority not to miss class. Accountability is one of your best abilities.”
Jeffries also pushed his teammates to strive for greatness in the classroom.
“I tried being that leader the team needs, not necessarily in football but being the guy that’s encouraging teammates to go to class and to compete in the classroom and not just on the field,” Jeffries said. “I pushed everybody around me to be the best that they can be, hoping in return to make FAMU better as a whole.”
Jeffries graduated from FAMU’s College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities with an undergraduate degree in psychology and a cumulative GPA of 3.5.
Assistant Professor of Psychology, Novell Tani, highlighted the type of student he remembers Jeffries as.
“Vincent was very hard working and very attentive in class. He had high levels of participation,” Tani said. “Anytime he travelled with the football team, he always communicated beforehand. In the potential of missing an assignment, he let me know in advance so we could coordinate the best time to make up the assignment. He never used his athletic status as an excuse to hinder his academic performance.”
When Jeffries was not working hard on the football field or in the classroom, he was dedicating his time to giving back in the community. Jeffries performed community service for a local nonprofit organization, the Tallahassee Urban League. He assisted the Vice President of the organization, Curtis Taylor, with the housing program.
Taylor spoke very highly of Jeffries as a volunteer at the Urban League.
“Vincent Jeffries was a great volunteer. He was always on time and always went the extra mile for people. He wasn’t here that long but in the time he was here at the Urban League, having him volunteer for us was very beneficial to us,” Taylor said. “He is a leader. He is a young man with his head on straight, very intelligent and somebody I definitely think could make a difference in the lives of our citizens here.”
Jeffries is currently chasing his dreams of playing professional football. After graduation, Jeffries participated in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Spirit of America Bowl where he scored the game winning touchdown. His most recent endeavor is trying out for the Canadian Football League.
“If football takes me far then I’ll ride football as long as I can and if not, I know that I’ve set myself up academically to make that next step into graduate school. Then from graduate school, project myself into a top tier job,” Jeffries said.
Jeffries has his sights set on pursuing a master’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. He envisions being able to share his knowledge to young athletes.
Jeffries was invited to attend the Second Annual Campbell Trophy Summit at Stanford University in August. He is humbled by this experience and is excited for all of the opportunities brought on by this award.
“I’m thankful for this award and the opportunity to be able to represent FAMU. It feels rewarding to know that all the work I was putting in throughout the season when I was not playing and I was a role player and a backup player paid off,” Jeffries said. “Now that I’m being nominated for an award like the Campbell Award it feels like the sky's the limit. And the opportunities are endless.”