When Alshon Jeffery was being recruited as a high schooler, he strongly considered attending USC – the University of Southern California, that is.
“I remember being on my back porch at my old house in Columbia when they gave me the news that he was committing to the other – the wrong – USC and thinking to myself how crushed I was to hear that, but then thinking that I’m not going to let that happen,” Beamer said.
Jeffery said the final 24 hours of his recruitment were hectic as South Carolina and a number of other schools attempted to sway his decision. Beamer said he was on the phone with Jeffery as late as 2 a.m. on the morning of National Signing Day as part of his final push to bring him to Columbia.
In the end, Beamer’s recruiting efforts won Jeffery over, and he made his commitment to South Carolina official the next morning. From there, the rest is history, with Jeffery’s jersey retirement on Saturday night representing a full circle moment for the former All-SEC wide receiver.
“Coach Beamer just stuck with me throughout the process and always told me that South Carolina was going to be a special place for me if I work hard, and looking back at it, like he said, it comes full circle,” Jeffery said. “My name is going up on the stadium. That’s amazing ... That’s a huge honor.”
Jeffery is among the Gamecock football program’s all-time leaders in nearly every offensive category for wide receivers as of the 2023 season. His 23 receiving touchdowns are tied for the most of any South Carolina wideout, and he also ranks second in receiving yards (3,042) and third in receptions (183).
Jeffery said he made a lot of memories on the field during his collegiate career, but the one that stuck out in his mind was South Carolina’s 2010 matchup against then-No. 1 Alabama at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Jeffery caught seven passes for 127 yards and scored two touchdowns during the game, which the Gamecocks won 35-21. It was also that afternoon that he made one of his favorite plays — a one-handed catch in tight coverage against an Alabama defensive back.
Jeffery said that every time he took the field for South Carolina, he took pride in representing the university.
“I felt like the students coming here every day and just being for South Carolina, representing something different, it meant something different for me," Jeffery said. "Going out there on Saturday and playing football, I knew I was representing for a lot of people."
Though he wishes he could have experienced more team success, Jeffery said he is proud of the impact he left behind on everyone he met at school.
“I gave it all I got on the field. I wish I could’ve won a national championship, a couple SEC championships, but most of all I felt like, outside of football, I really enjoyed my time,” Jeffery said. “I felt like everybody that I touched or came across when I went to school with them, I felt like I was a great person to them."
Jeffery went on to have a successful career in the NFL after college, spending a total of nine seasons with the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles. He finished his professional career with one Super Bowl championship and one Pro Bowl appearance. He was also named to a list of the top 100 Bears players of all time as part of the Bears Centennial Scrapbook.
Despite having not taken the field for an NFL team since 2020, Jeffery said he would not have wanted his career to go any other way.
“I wouldn’t change nothing. I would just say continue to work hard, the same thing I did,” Jeffery said. “Just put in the work. Everything else will happen for you.”