When he graduated from Harry S. Truman High School in Bronx, N.Y., five years ago, Ramon Jefferson never expected his college football journey to last as long as it has or have as many stops along the way.
Jefferson, however, is grateful for one last season and one more stop.
On Monday, the former Sam Houston star running back announced that he has committed to play his sixth and final season at Colorado. He will join the Buffaloes as a graduate transfer in the summer.
Also on Monday, Tyler (Texas) Junior College offensive lineman Alex Harkey announced he intends to transfer to CU and the Buffs landed a verbal commitment from class of 2023 quarterback Ryan Staub.
“It just gives me a new feeling of excitement,” Jefferson said of his decision. “I feel like everything I’ve been through in the past and just all my experience, I plan on using that and obviously working hard and getting in the system and learning that; being around the players and coaches and just elevating my game to compete on that level.”
The 5-foot-9, 215-pounder hasn’t had trouble competing at any other level to this point.
During his collegiate career, Jefferson has played for three schools and racked up 3,938 yards and 41 touchdowns on the ground, while averaging 6.2 yards per carry. His teams have a combined record of 39-8.
Jefferson, who spent the weekend in Boulder on an official visit, announced his commitment a day after former Buffs running back Jarek Broussard — CU’s leading rusher the last two seasons — announced his transfer to Michigan State. CU has also lost running backs Ashaad Clayton (Tulane) and Joe Davis (undecided) to the transfer portal this offseason.
CU is filling the void with one of the best running backs from the Football Championship Subdivision.
This fall, Jefferson rushed for 1,155 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging 6.7 yards per carry. He was named a third-team All-American by the Associated Press after helping the Bearkats reach the FCS semifinals. Sam Houston was 11-0 before a loss to Montana State in the semifinals, snapping a 21-game winning streak.
The FCS did not play in the fall of 2020 because of COVID-19, but last spring, Jefferson helped the Bearkats go 10-0 and win the national title. He rushed for 752 yards and seven touchdowns, while averaging 6.0 yards per carry.
With Sam Houston beginning the transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision and not eligible for postseason play in 2022, Jefferson elected to play his final season in Boulder.
“For me as a senior, having something to play for (was important),” he said. “I entered the portal and the (CU) coaches reached out. The welcoming of the coaches and just the different personalities on staff; I got a chance to meet all the staff this past weekend.
“What (head coach Karl Dorrell) told me is we’re a few pieces away from being a really good team. He said, ‘We have a lot of great players in place,’ and I met them and obviously you can see that there. … That’s something that I noticed when I looked at CU, just a phenomenal team and great people also.”
Jefferson said during his visit he connected well with offensive coordinator Mike Sanford, running backs Darian Hagan and his player host, receiver Jaylon Jackson.
Jefferson racked up 5,456 total yards and 52 touchdowns in high school and then redshirted at Maine in 2017. In 2018, Jefferson rushed for 1,037 yards and eight touchdowns, helping the Black Bears to a Colonial Athletic Association title and a trip to the FCS semifinals.
Early in 2019, he had some off-the-field trouble and was suspended for spring workouts. He eventually transferred to Garden City (Kan.) Community College, where he rushed for 994 yards and 13 touchdowns, earning second-team All-KJCCC honors before transferring to Sam Houston in 2020.
Jefferson said he prides himself on being able to break tackles and he’s working on developing his breakaway speed.
He will now join a backfield that includes CU’s 2019 leading rusher, Alex Fontenot, and Deion Smith, who had a solid season in 2021. The Buffs also have sophomore Jayle Stacks and incoming freshman Victor Venn on scholarship in the fall.
“I’m just willing to just take it all in,” he said. “This is gonna be a brand new feel for me; just being able go there and share in my expertise because I’ve been in college for a while now. Also, just learning from them how things work (at CU) and learning the offense.”
Playing for three different schools already, Jefferson said, “I feel like it’s going to help me, first off, learn a new offense, get in there and be able to adapt fast. I’m a quick learner.”
He’s also been a winner, playing at the highest levels of junior college and the FCS. He’s eager for one more memorable experience in Boulder.
“Being able to get out there and play against some premier teams and being on a premier team would be great,” he said.
Like Jefferson, Harkey will join the Buffs in the summer. He has three years of eligibility remaining. He received All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference honorable mention last season at Tyler.
The 6-foot-1, 194-pound Staub is a three-star recruit in the 2023 class. As a junior at West Ranch (Calif.) High School last season, he threw for 2,414 yards, 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, while rushing for 324 yards and six touchdowns. He was named the Foothill League offensive player of the year. Staub received a scholarship offer from CU last week. He also has an offer from Arizona.