Flashback: Remember When Jemar Jefferson Starred In Track?

Jemar Jefferson (2) won the LA City Section title in the 200m and competed at the 2018 State Meet in both the 100m and 200m. (Photos by Pat Rhames)

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Jemar Jefferson is emerging as one of the top running backs in college football. Now a junior at Oregon State, his play thus far is starting to garner some buzz for the Heisman Trophy, awarded annually to the top player in the country that goes more often than not to a running back or quarterback. 

On Saturday night, Jefferson, from Harbor City Narbonne High and one-time Los Angeles City Section sprint champion, rushed for 226 yards and two touchdowns, including one from 82 yards, as Oregon State grabbed national headlines by stunning 15th-ranked Oregon, 41-38. 

Jefferson, whose total set the record for single-game rushing yards in the 124-year history of that in-state rivalry, subsequently was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row. 

In his three years in Corvallis, Jefferson has rushed for 2,740 yards and 27 touchdowns, to rank fifth on Oregon State's all-time list for both yards and TDs. It was the 14th time in his three-year career that he has surpassed 100 rushing yards in a game and the third time Jefferson has exceeded 200 yards. 

The week before, Jefferson rushed for 196 yards and one touchdown -- on a 75-yard run -- as the Beavers defeated Cal, 31-27. He also had a run of 65 yards in that game. 

As a senior at Narbonne (LA), after transferring from Redondo Union (SS), Jefferson rushed for 1,861 yards and 34 touchdowns, and scored five more TDs as a receiver while leading while the Gauchos to a CIF-State divisional title.

While standing on the El Camino College infield at the 2018 LA City Section track and field finals, Jefferson said he hadn't run high school track previously. Why now? He said he was encouraged to do so by football coaches at Oregon State.

It was a good move.

Although MileSplit database results only have him competing in meets over the final month of the 2018 spring outdoor season, Jefferson still managed to dominate the competition at 200 meters, winning the City Section title in 22.11 seconds. He placed third in the 100m (10.88), qualifying for the State Meet in both individual sprints. 

At State, Jefferson ran personal bests in both events -- 10.86 in the 100m and 21.92 in the 200m -- but missed qualifying for the finals. He had won all four of his 200m races before falling short at State, where he had the 11th fastest time in prelims and missed earning one of the coveted nine spots in the final. 

Through four football games to this point in OSU's pandemic-altered season, Jefferson has rushed 91 times for 675 yards and leads the Pac-12 in rushing yards per game (168.8) and rushing touchdowns (7). 

The Beavers are next scheduled to play at Utah on Saturday (Dec. 5).

Check out the interview we did with Jemar at the 2018 LA City Section Final

(Note: Narbonne placed second in the 4x100 relay but did not compete at the State Meet)