many talent scouts as the best high school middle linebacker in the
As a junior, Jefferson got to the football frequently, amassing an amazing
163 tackles, including 39 behind the line of scrimmage. He recorded 13
sacks, caused three fumbles, recovered three fumbles, intercepted a pair of
passes and blocked two punts. In a tough playoff loss to Urbana High School
last season, Jefferson made plays all over the field, tallying 16 tackles
and intercepting a pass before the final gun.
In addition to possessing all the required instincts of a middle linebacker,
Jefferson has a full array in his athletic arsenal. Jefferson¹s lateral
quickness is reflected in his outstanding 4.28 time in the 20-yard shuttle.
He clocks a very respectable 4.63 in the 40 and bench presses 355 pounds. He
has a vertical leap of 28.4 inches and can perform 15 reps at 185 pounds on
the bench press.
But the thing that sets Jefferson apart from a class of highly-rated head
hunters is the zeal with which he obliterates the opposition.
"He plays like he¹s always angry," said The Insiders Scott Kennedy. "I think
he¹s the best middle linebacker in the country."
Jefferson also appraises his play like he¹s angry. Gwynn Park won its 2002
season opener 34-13 and he compiled 14 tackles, but he wasn¹t happy with
either his performance or the defense¹s.
"We won 34-13," he said. "I was upset that they scored; yeah, very upset. I
made 14 tackles, but I didn¹t think it was one of my best games. I got hurt
during the preseason and missed the entire preseason. I was just a little
Even a rusty Jefferson is solid gold and it¹s his driving ambition to always
be at his best that are numbered among his most enduring attributes.
"He is regarded as one of the nation's best prospects and top linebackers
for a reason," The Insiders Jamie Newberg opines. "He looks very good on
film. The first thing that comes to mind is his ability to hit. Jefferson
brings everything he has on every single play and has got to be one of the
most feared tacklers in the country. I mean he lays the wood every chance
he has. He is a true MIKE linebacker that will try and knock your head off
on every play."
Jefferson is also a solid student (3.2 GPA) who is fully qualified and has
received over 70 scholarship offers. The fact Tennessee remains a contender, although Ohio State and Penn State are probably the current frontrunners,
has to be considered a positive. Jefferson said he is no longer considering
Maryland which was among an early field of favorites.
"Besides Tennessee, I'm considering Ohio State, Penn State, Miami and
Virginia. I'll probably come up (to UT) in December. I can¹t come before
then because all of our games are on Saturday."
By the way, Gwynn Park¹s next game is against Friendly. That¹s amusing since
it¹s a cinch Jefferson will be anything but amicable.