It is rare indeed when a coach wishes for a player's drive to actually decrease -- but that's exactly what happened this season at Alvin High says a reporter who covered Jefferson this year. Sometimes running back Ashton Jefferson just wouldn't get off the field.
"There were times his Alvin coaches wished his ethic would go down a tad," said Stephen Collins of The Alvin Advertiser. "He would sneak on the field to take part in the scout team drills a few times and the coaches would have to run him off the practice field because they couldn't afford to get him hurt."
But that extra time on the practice field and in the weight room paid off big time for the 6-foot-2, 190-pound player.
"Jefferson is a quiet person off the field who possess a rock-solid work ethic on the field," Collins said. "His off-season work was a big reason he went from being a very good back to an elite one between his junior and senior seasons."
After serving in a backup roll as a junior, (78 carries, 434 yards, 4 TDs), the offensive load fell squarely on his broad shoulders his senior campaign. And he delivered better than anyone expected -- accounting for 75 percent of Alvin's offense.
Indeed, Jefferson racked up 1,565 yards, the second most in school history, with 14
touchdowns among his 261 carries (6.0 ypc).
And he did it all in just nine games for the Yellow Jackets. And that's also on a team that featured offensive linemen that were smaller than the guy they were blocking for.
"My best offensive lineman was 5-10, 190 pounds," Alvin head coach Jeff Dungen told BF.C recently. "Ashton is getting hit four times in the backfield and he's still grinding out five yards.
"If you give him any type of crease, he's going the distance - he never even came close to getting caught when he broke one. He outran people that had the edge on him too."
JEFFERSON, WHO POSSESSES sub 4.5 speed in the 40, tallied four games of over 200 yards rushing and was held under the century mark just once. His best game came against Clear Springs, who came in with a highly rated defense. Jefferson pasted 264 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries against them.
"His style of play involves a solid mix of power and speed," Collins said. "Counting the number of broken tackles he caused on several plays, he was just as incredible as the long runs that followed.
"Once he gets into the open field, he was just as hard to catch as he was to bring down."
In fact, so difficult to bring down on returns that teams refused to send the ball his way.
"Twice he returned kickoffs (a school record 93 yards each time) for touchdowns," Collins said. "Teams practically stopped kicking to him after his second 93-yarder in Week 2 last year, and were regularly popping up their kicks each week to another Alvin player around the 30-yard line."
Despite the Yellow Jackets finishing a disappointing 2-7, Jefferson was the unanimous offensive MVP of the 24-5A District -- a rare feat. He was also named Brazoria County's Offensive Player of the Year and captured 5A All-State honorable mention honors.IN JEFFERSON, SAYS Collins, Oregon State got a steal late in the current climate of ever-earlier recruiting commitments.
"He basically went from a being a very good running back his first two years on varsity to an elite back during his senior year," Collins said.
Jefferson was the last addition to the 2009 recruiting class, but a much
With Jeremy Francis' potential return still unknown and with few running backs on the roster, the Oregon State football team needs depth and Jefferson may get a chance to earn playing time as a true frosh.
"Ashton is a big kid that can run - a 6-6 high jumper, explosion and an excellent receiver," coach Mike Riley said. "Who knows what he is going to be next year? He may be a guy we have to look at early."
That sounds just about right to Collins.
"In my estimation, Ashton Jefferson is absolutely both ready physically and mentally to compete in the PAC-10 right out of the gate."
Imagine what he might be able to do when his linemen are bigger than he is..
- Collins on Jefferson's strengths - "His strengths are durability
(he practically carried Alvin on his shoulders for the entire season), good
blocker and good hands."
- Collins on Jefferson's weaknesses - "His only weaknesses was a few
times when he would try to run East-West instead of North-South, but those
occasions were few and far in between."
- Collins on Jefferson's personality - "Solid character overall who also takes care of business in the classroom. Had a 3.0 GPA."
A big thanks to Stephen Collins of The Alvin Sun Advertiser for providing his insight on one of the newest members of Beaver Nation.