Spartanburg High School football QB Raheim Jeter finds new perspective after being shot

Raheim Jeter is the No. 2 player on the 864Huddle Upstate Dandy Dozen, a list of the 12 best football recruits in the Upstate of South Carolina.

SPARTANBURG — That day sometimes replays in the Jeter family's mind.

Raheim Jeter was shot on Feb. 18, 2022 – almost seven months to the day before he and his teammates will begin their season against Langston Hughes (Ga.) at the Freedom Bowl on Aug. 20 in Milton, Georgia. The day is a scary one, when Jeter, a three-star prospect (per 247Sports composite) and the No. 2 player on the Upstate Dandy Dozen list was shot in the leg in what was called a "road rage incident."

Life was altered, for Jeter, his family, Spartanburg High's football program.

"I'm just glad to be here," Jeter told the Herald-Journal. "It showed me how short life is and how life can be gone just like that. So I thank God everyday that I'm still here and I'm able to do what I love on the football field."

Raheim Jeter of the Spartanburg High football.
Raheim Jeter of the Spartanburg High football.

He snaps his fingers when discussed how quickly life can be taken. The young football star, who once was at Greer High and then Byrnes, threw for 27 touchdowns and nearly 3,000 passing yards last year. He led Spartanburg to the Class AAAAA Upper State Championship game, where the Vikings fell to eventual state champion Gaffney.

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He is also the No. 13 player in the state, No. 46 quarterback in the country and the No. 952 player nationally, according to 247Sports. He is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds – a prototypical build for a quarterback at the collegiate level.

All of those things are about football. Which sometimes, isn't what it's all about.

"It could've been gone in a snap of a finger," Jeter said. "So I cherish every practice, every time that I get to step on the field I just cherish it and just thank God that I'm able to do it."

Jeter has found perspective – one that focuses around the fragility of life – in the wake of a frightening situation.

"Most people can't relate to this," his coach, Mark Hodge, points out. "He was a victim of an uninstigated attack on his life ... so you have to process all of that. He went for three weeks or so, asking who or why? He had to deal with stigmas and rumors ... negative opinions of himself.

"Then you had to process the actual fact that I'm just blessed to be here right now. You throw all that in to the mind of a 17-year-old ... to be able to come out on the other end and be able to forgive, to not say anything, because that takes a lot of self control not to defend yourself when you know people are saying false things about yourself."

The return from injury

Raheim's father, Antwan Jeter, admits that when he sees Raheim trot on to the field on Aug. 20 for that first game in Georgia, he will probably cry.

When your son is nearly taken away from you, how else could one react?

Raheim Jeter of the Spartanburg High football.
Raheim Jeter of the Spartanburg High football.

Jeter underwent successful surgery on Feb. 24 and made a full recovery. A suspect, Armad Irby, 41, was charged on March 1 with attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, according to the Spartanburg County Sheriffs Department.

"It just taught as to take nothing for granted," Antwan Jeter said. "Everyday, every time your kid leaves the house ... just to see him back on the field, having fun with his friends and having fun again – it's been amazing."

Raheim said that the hardest part was the mental side.

"The physical side wasn't really all that hard," Jeter said. My trainers are great so they got me back in no time. But the mental side kind of took me the longest to kind of get over and conquer ... but with the help of God and my family and coaches and friends – I was able to get over it."

Jeter's recruitment remains open

Jeter was originally committed to play for West Virginia. On Aug. 1, the quarterback announced via social media that his recruitment was again open and that he would not remain committed to play for the Mountaineers.

"I just felt like West Virginia wasn't really a home for me anymore, and I needed to open up my recruitment again and explore other options," Jeter said at the time of the announcement.

The Class of 2023 QB holds offers from five other Power Five schools including defending national champion Georgia, Virginia Tech, Missouri and Kentucky.

What Spartanburg can do with Raheim at helm

The Vikings return some heavy hitters from a team that got on a roll from Week 2 and on last year. Jeter, who didn't start the first two games, helped carry an offense that sputtered against Gaffney and Mauldin to begin the year.

Spartanburg's Raheim Jeter passed for 2,979 yards and 27 touchdowns as a junior.
Spartanburg's Raheim Jeter passed for 2,979 yards and 27 touchdowns as a junior.

"It's not even anything for me," Jeter said when asked about his goals. "I just want to win a state championship for this team. I want to bring a ring back to this city for the first time in a while, for my brothers I just want to go out there and win it."

Hodge said he has seen Jeter take the next step – the one where his competitiveness is beginning to separate him among the great players Hodge has coached in his time at Carolina, Chapman and now Spartanburg.

"His improvement as a quarterback last year was astronomical," Hodge said. "What he did the last eight games of the season is pretty remarkable. He gave us a chance in a game (against Gaffney) that we probably weren't mentally ready to win .... my question is now what are we going to do now? How can he lead us through adversity?"

Jeter should be able to find that answer … with his new perspective.

Joe Dandron covers high school sports and more for The Greenville News and 864Huddle. He hopes to tell stories about sports and the way that they intertwine to our lives across the Upstate. Contact him at

This article originally appeared on Herald-Journal: Raheim Jeter chases comeback after suffering a gunshot wound this year