This past December the Hawthorne football team made a run all the way to the Class 1A state championship game in Tallahassee.
On Monday, the Hornets’ starting quarterback in that 14-13 loss to Madison County in the title game, Tyler Jefferson, announced on social media that he is transferring to another school for his senior year.
This fall, the Central Michigan University commit will be attending Columbia High School (Lake City).
“First off, I would like to thank Hawthorne High School, all the teachers and administrators for everything they’ve done for me during my time at Hawthorne. I would also like to thank the whole coaching staff for welcoming me in with open arms and helping me become a better player and man, especially Coach Adkins, (Greg) Bowie, and my head coach Cornelius Ingram. Also to my brothers at Hawthorne I love ya’ll boys and I know you’re going to get that state championship ring. But with all that being said, for my senior year I will be transferring to Columbia High School.”
Jefferson will be reunited with his former coach at Fort White.
Demetric Jackson, who spent 14 years as the head coach at Fort White, was named the new Columbia football coach last summer. This past season, he guided the Tigers (6-5) to the Class 6A-District 3 title and a playoff berth.
“Going to Columbia was the best decision for me and my family,” said Jefferson, who was named to the small school offense for the 2021 Mainstreet Daily News All Area Football Team.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound rising senior averaged 6.7 yards per carry and rushed for 16 touchdowns for the state runner-up Hornets.
“Tyler is a very physical runner, rarely brought down by the first defender, and has a cannon for an arm,” Hawthorne coach Cornelius Ingram said about his former All Area QB. “He is only scratching the surface of his enormous potential.”
The dual-threat quarterback, who threw six touchdown passes in 2021, is excited about playing against the likes of Riverside (Jacksonville)—formerly Robert E. Lee—and Buchholz (Gainesville).
“This opportunity to play bigger and better schools will allow me to show my skills and what I bring to the table more through the air,” he said.
Jefferson hasn't officially joined the team yet, but will soon.
"My first real action with Columbia will be next month at FCA Camp," he said.
Columbia, which will be competing in the Class 3 Suburban-District 3 this year, opens the regular season at Buchholz on Thursday, Aug. 25.
Middleburg, Orange Park, and Ridgeview (Orange Park) are in the new four-team district with the Tigers.