Jahron McPherson pushes to new heights, goes above what’s required

Junior defensive back Jahron McPherson jumps up to deflect the pass during the game against Oklahoma at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Oct. 26, 2019. (Sabrina Cline | Collegian Media Group)

Defensive back Jahron McPherson says he was under recruited in high school. However, he pushed away the naysayers and battled hard to earn the playing time he says he deserves.

After graduating from a 4A high school in Basehor, Kan., McPherson didn’t have many options that piqued his interest. Some Division 2 programs like Emporia State and Northwest Missouri State had eyes on him, but he had eyes on playing in Division 1 schools.

“Honestly, I felt like I was better than Division 2,” McPherson said. “I knew the players at 5A and 6A that I actually grew up playing with and I was better than them or just as good.”

Despite what McPherson thought, he took his talents to Butler Community College. There, he was able to improve his game in preparation for the next level.

Attending Butler was no more than what McPherson called a “business trip”: a time to prove himself. He avoided parties, focused on school and he said the only fun he had was football.

“You are there to get in and to get out, however you have to do it.” McPherson said.

McPherson appeared in three games at Butler Community College before suffering a knee injury. Although this created a small obstacle in his collegiate career, McPherson was able to return to football.

Just as McPherson promised, he left Butler Community College after one year and enrolled at Kansas State. McPherson elected to redshirt the 2017 season as he rehabbed his knee and learned the ins and outs of the Wildcat football program.

McPherson said he busted through the doors hot following a year on the sidelines. Whatever he needed to do to be seen, he did.

“If you do the unrequired you will get the result that you want,” McPherson said. “I feel like I did everything that was unrequired and I feel like it paid off.”

McPherson eyed former Wildcat players like D.J. Reed and Duke Shelley, emulating exactly what they did. McPherson would watch extra film or even complete extra sets of bicep curls — just the little things that he knew other players weren’t doing.

In the spring of 2018, the K-State coaching staff hadn’t been able to see McPherson complete many reps on the field, but were excited to see what he would bring to the table. Within days, former position coach Joe Klanderman knew he had to find a way to get McPherson on the field.

“It became evident about a week after the beginning of fall camp that he was going to be one of our best eleven players,” Klanderman said. “He was just a guy who spent a lot of time asking me questions, a ton of time watching film and spent a ton of time on a business mission.”

McPherson quickly became a go-to defensive player and role model for his fellow teammates. Sophomore defensive back Lance Robinson looks up to McPherson, just as McPherson did to Reed and Shelley.

The two defensive backs have become best friends and roommates. Robinson said the grind doesn’t stop for McPherson. It isn’t a show he puts on either.

“J-Mac [McPherson] runs hard,” Robinson said. “He is still waking up at 5:30 a.m., he is still on his normal regiment. We will be at the house just chilling, and he wants to get the 45 pound dumbbells out the closet and start doing curls,” Robinson said. “I am not going to just not do them, so I start doing them with him.”

McPherson’s mentality has pushed him to new heights. McPherson played in all 13 games last season, compiling 36 tackles, a tackle for loss and one interception.

With a dream of playing in the NFL in mind, McPherson has high hopes for his senior season.

“I am going all in one hundred percent,” McPherson said. ”I just feel like I do what I am supposed to do and God will take care of the rest. I just need to do my part.”