LUBBOCK, Texas — Dawson Deaton and Riko Jeffers are two of Texas Tech football’s team leaders on the field, but off the field, they have much more important people to lead than their teammates.
Both men are fathers; Deaton has a 1-year-old daughter named Parker and Jeffers has a 4-year-old son named Ezra.
Deaton and Jeffers have gained a new perspective on life from having the little ones around, they told EverythingLubbock.com Thursday.
“It changes everything,” Deaton said. “She was born during our bye week in the 2019 season, so ever since then, she’s been my ‘why.’ Everything I do so is for her.”
Everyone has days where they wake up and don’t feel like working. For some, it’s easy to slog through those days at half-effort, but Ezra inspires Jeffers to go the extra mile on days where he isn’t feeling his best.
“It gives you that work ethic,” he said. “Every day you don’t feel good, knowing you have a child at home who depends on you, it makes you get up and do that. Because you’re not living for yourself anymore. You’re living for someone else.”
Deaton and Jeffers bond with each other and the other fathers on the team over their shared experience. They go to one another and the coaches on the team for dad advice.
Jeffers said the intimate nature of the team fosters an environment where they can share with each other.
“This team is very close-knit,” he said. “We talk to each other about anything, and with other fathers on the team, we can come to each other for advice and stuff like that and just be able to talk.”
Deaton, a senior center, was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 team and Jeffers, a fifth-year linebacker, has been an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention in each of the last two seasons. Both plan to play professionally and both have someone at home inspiring them to get there.