Born in Beaumont, Texas, LeVias played quarterback for Hebert High School. He was recruited to the Southern Methodist University in the spring of 1965. His success, on and off the field, led to a highly anticipated varsity debut in 1966, and quickly became one of the most exciting players in the nation on the conference-champion Mustangs.
LeVias was three times consensus All-SWC, 1966-68, and All-America as a senior. He twice led the league in receiving and held every career record when his three varsity seasons ended, including the single game mark for reception yardage (when he caught 8 passes for 213 yards against North Carolina State in 1968.) LeVias ended his career with a TD catch in SMU’s victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in the 1968 Bluebonnet Bowl and followed that as the MVP of the Senior Bowl.
LeVias played his first season in 1969 with the American Football League’s Houston Oilers, where he was selected to the 1969 AFL All-Star Team, then was with the NFL Oilers (1970) and with the NFL San Diego Chargers (1971-1974).
Jerry LeVias holds a special place in the history of college athletics. When he entered SMU in 1965, he became the first African-American to receive an athletic scholarship in the Southwest Conference. His signing with SMU changed the racial makeup of college football in the South. Amidst the trials and tribulations of breaking the color barrier, LeVias made both athletic and academic All-American football teams. He was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1995 and to the National College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
After his football career ended, LeVias became a successful businessman.