Jeffery Sims

UMHB senior center Jeffery Sims Jr. and the Crusaders host Belhaven at noon today in an ASC game.

BELTON — Jeffery Sims Jr. has never been one to shy away from something difficult. Perhaps that’s why he can handle everything that comes his way with a smile.

Ever since arriving on the Mary Hardin-Baylor campus in 2018, his days have been consumed by primarily two things — football and homework — and never more so than now. In his first season since moving from guard to become the Crusaders’ starting center responsible for all of the calls along the offensive line, the senior has to put in his fair share of film study. And in his fourth year as a mechanical engineering major, the load of coursework seems to never end.

To him, though, that’s just life as a college student and member of the No. 2-ranked team in the country.

“I have a few uncles who are engineers. Growing up, I saw how they lived and what they did,” the 6-foot, 280-pound product of Dallas Christian said. “I thought it would be a good route for me seeing as how I love science and like math.

“Every night, there’s hours of homework. It’s not easy to juggle everything. I’m not going to lie. It’s not easy at all. From 2 to 7, I’m all about football. After that, I immediately go to Bawcom (Student Union) and study with my friends. You just have to find some balance in your schedule.”

Sims has been a contributor on the field all four years at UMHB, appearing in eight games as the backup center as a freshman, starting all 13 contests at left guard the following season and starting at right guard last spring before being named the starting center this year.

Through it all, he took each position change in stride.

“I’m always a team guy. Whatever the team needs me to do, I’ll always do it,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me where I’m at as long as the team is winning. As long as the team is successful, I’m happy where I’m at.”

The Crusaders have certainly been successful during Sims’ stint, winning 39 of their 40 games and the 2018 national title — numbers UMHB (7-0, 6-0 American Southwest Conference) will try to pad today when it hosts Belhaven (5-2, 4-2) at noon at Crusader Stadium.

And just as Sims has handled everything on the field, he also has taken care of business in the classroom, even when things were at their toughest.

“My sophomore year, I thought maybe it was all too much,” he said. “I’ve only failed one class in my entire life, and it was my sophomore year. I was like, ‘Man, can I do this?’ But then I saw it as adversity and something I could overcome, and I did. The next semester I passed that class. I just have to stay on top of it. As an engineering major, you have to devote more hours to it in order to pass.”

On the field and in the classroom, Sims handles everything in the same fashion and succeeds by relying on his intelligence, skill and worth ethic.

“Every game you want to be perfect and play fast, and every game is a chance to learn. It’s about us. We get to see what we need to fix and how we can get better for farther down the road,” he said. “Every game is a learning experience.

“We tell the young guys, ‘Practice might be hard and it might be a long season but I promise you in Week 15 when we’re in Canton, Ohio, lifting up that trophy, it will all be completely worth it.’”