- Associated Press - Sunday, December 4, 2016

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - As a third grader, Jeffery Mead always brought a shopping list on trips to Wal-Mart with his mom and his sister.

He needed materials to make goo - a mixture typically made with borax, glue, water and food coloring. It was just the kind of thing kids in the third grade thought was pretty neat.

His mom, Tamara, thought Jeffery was simply making the slime for himself.

It wasn’t until she got a call from the principal of Tulsa’s Victory Christian School midway through the year that she realized the future Oklahoma wide receiver wasn’t making all that goo for himself.

Unbeknown to her, Jeffery had been employing his friends to sell the goo to his classmates for a couple bucks a pop. He was raking in about $5 a day - big bucks for a third grader.

Inside his briefcase-style bag, young Jeffery carried a book that kept track of all his employees and their wages, paying them each 10 cents for their work.

“Everybody wanted to work for him, his sister, her friends,” Tamara told The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/2fVPokT ). “It was just hilarious. Now that I think back to it, I should’ve known then, business is going to be his forte.”

Around the college football scene, Mead is known more for his acrobatic catches and spin-move touchdowns than his business sense, but the finance major approaches the game and his extracurricular activities much differently than most athletes.

Beyond playing professional football, Jeffery’s ultimate goal is go into commercial real estate, but until then, he’s honed his business skills by working for different network marketing companies like Seacret Direct and LegalShield.

For Jeffery, working with the companies is more than about making money quickly - although that’s certainly an important aspect - it’s also another avenue to stoke his natural competitive fire.

“I want to be very successful, and football is not a guarantee in any shape or form,” Jeffery said. “It’s not going to last long at all, so I need to find something that’s going to last and something that I enjoy. The good thing I like about network marketing is that you can teach people and work with them and help them reach their goals financially. I enjoy doing that.”

Everything Mead does, he does it deliberately. Before pregame warmups against Iowa State, he was spotted reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill on the field because his mentors recommended it to him. It helped them achieve their goals, and it could do the same for Jeffery.

Once in high school, his sister caught him listening to an inspiration video called “How to Be Rich” while he did homework. She laughed as she watched him, observing that he was acting far too mature for a high schooler.

“He didn’t party,” Tamara said. “He just didn’t want to be around it, he still doesn’t want to be around it. How he is now is how he’s always been. He’s driven. He likes challenges.”

Some might call it quirky or different, but that’s just Jeffery, his mom said. He’s just a different type of guy, a “nerd that’s an athlete” - atypical from most other college athletes in the way he approaches the game and inquisitively thinks about the broader scope of the world.

“To me, he was always thinking about, very mature in the things that he thought about,” said Union football coach Kirk Fridrich, who coached Jeffery in high school. “He always talked about wanting to run his own business and things like that. It wasn’t just totally involved in sports all together and everything, although he’s a great athlete and played three different sports. He didn’t shy away from that. He had other interests outside of that.”

Even without being engrossed in athletics, Jeffery found a way to excel on the football field. In the last month, he’s become one of quarterback Baker Mayfield’s consistent targets. He’s made least one catch in each of the last four games and scored two touchdowns. Though he has the tools to reach the next level, that isn’t where his dream ends. For Jeffery, there’s a life beyond football, and he’s been laying the foundation for that future since his elementary school entrepreneurial ventures.

“If he can get there and get to the NFL, he wants to use it for his business,” Tamara said. “He’s not thinking about playing football and retiring. He’s just using it for a steppingstone. That’s what he wants to do. He’s not your average athlete. It’s just a means to what he really wants to do. ‘If I get that then, I can invest in that and do this.’ That’s how he thinks.”


Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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