ELKHART — Jeffery Wilson Jr. just finished his rookie season for the San Francisco 49ers.
On Friday, he returned to his alma mater of Elkhart High School, where a pep rally was held in his honor.
“It’s huge,” Wilson said. “It’s cool to see all of my old teachers. You can tell the love is still there. I’ll always come back home.”
During his time at Elkhart, Wilson set many school records that still stand today.
Wilson rushed for 6,878 yards with 82 touchdowns in his high school career. In 2013, he rushed for a school-record 36 touchdowns. He also scored 244 points that season. He also holds the record with six touchdowns in a game, something he accomplished on three occasions.
A two-star recruit, Wilson signed with the University of North Texas.
During his career for the Mean Green, Wilson rushed for 3,205 yards with 70 touchdowns.
After going undrafted, Wilson signed with San Francisco as a free agent. He was waived in September but was quickly placed on the team’s practice squad.
He made his debut Nov. 25 at Tampa Bay and carried the ball seven times for 33 yards.
“When I came out of the tunnel for that first game, that’s when it really hit me that I was in the NFL,” Wilson said.
In the next game at Seattle, Wilson recorded the eighth-best performance for a running back in Week 13. He had 15 carries for 61 yards, and he caught eight passes for 73 yards.
He followed that with a 90-yard outing on 20 carries in a 20-14 win over Denver.
Wilson finished his rookie campaign with 66 carries for 266 yards, and he had 12 receptions for 98 yards.
“I was questioning myself early if I was supposed to be in the NFL, but I learned that I belonged in this league,” Wilson said.
On Friday, Elkhart students and teachers and members of Wilson’s family gathered in the gym for a pep rally for Wilson.
“I can’t tell you how proud we are of Jeffery,” Elkhart principal Jason Ives said. “The way he has represented Elkhart High School, his family and himself is just unbelievable. We’re glad to have the opportunity to have him back at Elkhart and recognize him for his accomplishments and hard work.”
Ives was the Elks’ offensive coordinator when Wilson was in high school. Wilson graduated from Elkhart in 2014.
At the end of the ceremony, Elkhart superintendent Lamont Smith and head football coach Jason Fiacco presented Wilson with his framed San Francisco jersey, which will be displayed outside the Elkhart gym.