Dynamite Baker’s Dozen No. 1: Baylor’s Amari Jefferson is Chattanooga area’s top talent

Staff file photo by Matt Hamilton / Baylor receiver Amari Jefferson, left, enters his senior prep football season hoping to help the Red Raiders repeat as state champions. Already committed to Alabama, he is No. 1 on the Times Free Press Dynamite Baker's Dozen of the Chattanooga area's top 13 prospects.

When asked what one word could best describe his on-field ability, Baylor School senior receiver Amari Jefferson didn't flinch with his response: "Dynamic."

It was more than just self-confidence that led to Jefferson's choice of personal portrayal, confirmed several days later when Red Raiders coach Erik Kimrey used the same adjective.

"Alabama is getting a dynamic playmaker," Kimrey said after Jefferson made his public commitment to the Crimson Tide two weeks ago. "He can score any time he touches the ball from anywhere on the field. What separates him is the way he approaches the game. He's an elite competitor who's also very intelligent."

Jefferson, the area's top-rated prospect in this year's Times Free Press Dynamite Baker's Dozen, proved his capacity for coming through in the clutch throughout the playoffs last season. That was particularly true in the TSSAA Division II-AAA BlueCross Bowl, when he broke free for a 48-yard touchdown run, then hauled in a 46-yard pass for another score to help the Red Raiders rally for their first state title in 49 years.

He finished last season with 56 catches for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he was also a part of Baylor's 2021 baseball state championship team.

A consensus four-star prospect in football, Jefferson is ranked as high as the No. 2 overall player in Tennessee by On3.com, which also ranks him as the No. 19 receiver nationally, while 247Sports.com lists him as the state's No. 3 overall prospect.

He is also one of the state's top 15 baseball prospects, according to multiple scouting services, and among the top 250 nationally.

The 6-foot, 195-pounder became the first football player from Hamilton County to commit to Alabama under Nick Saban and would be the first Chattanooga-area player to sign with the Tide since 2013, when kicker Adam Griffith of Georgia powerhouse Calhoun did so.

"Coach Saban told me multiple times on my visit back in June, 'We don't just want you, Amari, we need you.' That's really what made me realize that's where I was going to go," Jefferson said. "I just compete hard so I can be the best I possibly can be."

Contact Stephen Hargis at [email protected] or 423-757-6293.