There isn’t a whole lot about Matt Jeffery that makes him blend in with everybody else.
Part of who he is was instilled by his older brother, Michael. The elder Jeffery played football at Cheshire High School before doing the same at Amherst. Watching his older brother go through the school and leave an impact on it? That was something that stayed with the dynamic lefty midfielder.
He had his fair share of private school suitors. Despite that, there was something about cementing a different kind of legacy at Cheshire that appealed to Jeffery.
“We have this tradition for football where the best leader gets their name on the rock at the football field,” Jeffery said. “My brother’s a really smart guy and he got on there, and it helped me want to build our Jeffery family name and get on that rock, too. It built a good foundation for my family and I wanted to keep it going. I toured one of the private schools and I just realized that I wanted to live my life at a public school.
So Jeffery rebuffed all of those private school suitors, but it’s not the only thing that helps separate him from everyone else. He’s on track to be a four-year starter at quarterback, point guard and midfielder for Cheshire. He’s a rare throwback that doesn’t just play three sports, but plays them at an incredibly high level.
Rise to No. 1
He got hurt last year after getting sacked during a football game. The Rams dropped three straight games in his absence. When he came back, they immediately found the win column. Being in a position where he always has the ball and is tasked with dissecting defenses in three different sports has upped his athletic IQ, but it’s also a huge reason why he’s developed into the NLF’s No. 1 prospect in the class of 2024. Jeffery skyrockets to the top after being ranked No. 35 in the initial rankings, and he’s one of three Eclipse five-stars in the class and one of five Eclipse players in the top 30.
“It feels amazing to be No. 1,” Jeffery said. “I’ve always dreamed of being the top player, and I’m not from a private school. It’s hometown lacrosse, which makes me feel good. It helps out the Cheshire program and it shows younger kids that they can become great players without leaving. Being No. 1 at a public school is really hard to do, but it shows that if you’re a really good player, people will find you.”
Jeffery will be the first call for a lot of schools on Thursday, when non-service academy coaches can first reach out to prospects in the 2024 class. He’s most interested in the likes of Notre Dame, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio State and defending national champion Maryland. He admits that the Irish are in the pole position heading into his recruitment, but a lot can change.
“I LOVE that he’s a three-sport athlete, especially a quarterback and a point guard,” one power conference assistant coach said. “I think it keeps kids healthier and it gives him a better feel. Multi-sport athletes have a better feel on the field and he can see what other kids can’t see.”
That vision’s paid off on the lacrosse field, too. Jeffery racked up 55 goals and 57 assists last spring en route to being Cheshire’s first sophomore All-America selection. His athleticism, two-handed shooting ability and his willingness to make plays all over the field are reasons why college coaches are salivating over him.
“I’d say that the footwork and leadership skills needed to be a QB, as well as reading defenses, has correlate into lacrosse,” Jeffery said. “There’s also the skill and finesse of basketball. I have the same move for lacrosse and basketball. Hesitation to the left and shoot or hit a pull-up jumper from the top of the key.”
Jeffery was a Maverik Showtime All-Star this summer and then continued to dominate throughout. He was particularly terrific at the NLF National Championships. In one game against Laxachusetts to determine the pool winner, he dodged down the alley and ripped an absolute screamer into the far-side top corner. On the next possession, he crossed over to his right and unloaded a 12-yard rip. The more than 50 college coaches on the sidelines for that game definitely took notice.
A True Difference Maker
Eclipse director Jamie Hanford has seen some good ones come through his program. The three-time Loyola All-American, former pro and now defensive coordinator for the PLL‘s Chaos sees something special in a player that he says, “has been the best guy in our class since third grade.”
“I just think he’s super athletic and so talented, and I think his athleticism really stems from him playing three sports,” Hanford said. “Him being a quarterback and a point guard flows well into the game of lacrosse. He just didn’t play in as many events as a lot of other guys. He was playing football and basketball, but leading into his junior year, he did more and he showed how good he is.”
How good is he? He’s the best 2024 in the country.