Jefferson is humble behind the stardom

There is no doubt that CeCe Jefferson likes the recruiting process and the stardom that comes with it. But, for someone ranked as the top defensive end in America with college coaches all over him, he is as engaging a character you will ever meet when he interviews. He's also humble. He knows he has talent, and knows he has to hone that talent at the next level to get where he wants to be.

CeCe Jefferson is the quintessential hybrid pass rushing defensive end / linebacker. At 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds the Glen St. Mary (Fla.) Baker County star can spill quarterback faster than you can say where he is from.

Jefferson is also someone that loves the game he plays and although he will miss the first few practices with his teammates, he can't wait to get started this spring as the state starts up the allowed time for spring ball. Under new leadership from head coach Tom Macpherson, Jefferson wants to see what this new spring will bring with him and his teammates.

"It is definitely going to be fun," Jefferson told FightinGators.com Wednesday after a team meeting. "I still have to get my physical. I probably won't be at practice tomorrow. I will probably start on Tuesday. The guys seem to be excited about it. I am hyped and ready to see how Coach MacPherson comes in and does things. I am just very excited to get with the guys."

Jefferson was a bit upset when his former coach left Baker County, so much so they he really considered transferring out to another program. Then he sat down and talked with MacPherson and had a change of heart.

"He is very high tempo guy and manages his time well," Jefferson said. "He kind of brings a college feel to it. He is a great coach so far, I am just ready to go to work.

"I was going to go to Lake City (Columbia) or (Jacksonville) Trinity Christian, but he came in and I got a chance to meet and talk with him. He kept it real with me and I decided to stay and finish out my senior year."

Jefferson was also held back from leaving by the fact that his life has been spent in the Macclenny area and that Baker County has always been his school.

"That was also a big deal with me," he said. "I have been here all this time, so I might as well finish it out."

Even though he didn't practice with his teammates on the first day Thursday, hoards of coaches were by to see Jefferson and his team because he is that big of a star in the recruiting process. He's not ready to shut anyone out right now so he has no top list of schools. That should come before the start of the season.

"I will probably say after this spring I will sit down with my family, talk to some more coaches, and get out and take a few more visits," he said. "Then I will have a top five."

Jefferson is quite playful about the process to reporters. Some big time prospects won't even talk recruiting and he is quick to say he will answer any question throw at him. Still, trying not to assume too much I asked if Florida and Florida State were teams likely to be in his tip five down the road. He just laughed and said, "Of course they will be in the top five".

He's visited the Seminoles quite a few times and has a lot of nice things to say about the reigning National Champs and ACC power.

"Florida State, the name speaks for itself," he said. "Coach Fisher is a coach on the rise. They get the best players and are a defensive school. The way I play defense I am a hybrid guy. I feel if I go to Florida State I won't just be a defensive end, I will move around. If I am blessed enough to leave in three years I will have that tape to show NFL coaches that I can maneuver."

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That hybrid position is called the BUCK at Florida and there is one other team that uses the same type of position that Jefferson made sure to point out.

"It is the same at Florida and that is why I probably visit those places the most… Alabama is the same, the "JACK" position."

The Crimson Tide is probably the third most visited school for Jefferson and he gets a lot of what they are about.

"Alabama is known for their defense," he said. "They are hardnosed, Coach Saban is a defensive guy and he's coached in the league. I went into his office and he has rings on top of rings and I was amazed by that. They run that hybrid position that I can fit in, and that is a big part of my college decision."

He has been to Florida far more times than the other schools and just visited Gainesville last week. He's probably been to Gainesville six or more times since January and just feels a comfort level at Florida that he really likes. He has a tremendous relationship with Florida defensive line coach Brad Lawing.

"I would say that it is so close to home and I have just built a relationship with all the coaches there and feel so comfortable every time I go," he said of Gainesville and the Gators campus. "Coach Lawing is a great coach, he has background with coaching Jadeveon Clowney and Clowney praising him for staying on him and working him hard and not cutting him any slack. Where Jadeveon Clowney is now speaks for itself. He has pretty much given Coach Lawing all the credit for that. I have been compared to Clowney a few times and Coach Lawing always tells me it won't be easy, but will be worth it.

"He's a great guy. I love talking with him. All the coaches love me and I love them. Every time I go we have a good time and I just look forward to going there every time."



Jefferson used Twitter to post this picture of him and Lawing on Thursday with the caption, "Chilling with probable future coach !"

Florida head coach Will Muschamp is another huge influence in the recruiting process for Jefferson.

"Muschamp is my guy. I might actually might call him tonight and chomp it up with him a little bit. He is a great guy and also a defensive coach. He and my old head coach used to coach together, so there is a background there.

"Coach Muschamp and my dad have built a relationship, so they are as thick as thieves now. Coach Muschamp is a great guy."

The Clowney comparisons come pretty often for Jefferson who doesn't fight it, but knows he has a lot to live up to with remarks like that.

"I think I will get taller, but I definitely see that we both have quick twitch, his first step, and his use of hands," Jefferson said. "He is violent with his hands I am violent with my hands. If I get a clean shot on someone I will make them play like he did in the Michigan game. He is definitely a guy I try to mock my game after. I like watching him because he is exciting and enjoys the game."

College coaches want and need players like Jefferson on their campus. He would be a difference maker anywhere he chose to go. But, in the end, he has his own criteria for picking a school.

"I think it will be about going somewhere and getting a good home feeling, somewhere that I love the coaches and love the place," he said. "I will definitely talk to the players and get their feel for it. Proximity is not an issue for me. I will be going somewhere that fits my style of play and hopefully a place that will prepare me for the NFL and get me a great education."

As far as a timetable, if things work out, he will likely graduate early and announce at the All-American game he is playing in. If the graduating early doesn't happen, well he isn't against letting the suspense carry on for another month and letting his classmates relish in the attention he will be getting.

"I am probably thinking about waiting it out until national signing day if I am not an early enrollee," he said. "There is about a 90% chance of me taking summer classes and doing it early, but I kind of want that thrill of doing it on signing day and having this place flooded. I just have to sit down with my family and talk about it… pray about it and I am sure the Lord will have me do the right thing."


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