In the first half, Jefferson did the bulk of his damage from the running back position, including Eastlake's only touchdown of the half. He seemed to be conserving his energy a bit on defense. He wasn't taking plays off per se, he would pull up or jump over a player on his way down, rather than lay an extra hit on him. He finished the first half with only one tackle.
Jefferson showed no such mercy on the offensive side of the ball; he was tenacious in fighting for extra yards and doling out punishment. He has the ability to twist and spin all while keeping his forward momentum getting extra yardage.
Jefferson's second half was very similar to his first half, content to let the action happen in front of him on defense, while dictating the action on offense and special teams. Fans of Eastlake commented how his play on defense was uncharacteristic of the normally Über-aggressive Jefferson.
It wasn't until crunch time when Jefferson began to show his trademark playmaking ability. With time running down on what may have been Moorpark's final drive, Jefferson began creeping closer to the line of scrimmage and had two key defensive plays, breaking on an out route and a tackle on the sidelines that forced a punt.
Jefferson finished the game, unofficially with 118 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries and three tackles in the overtime loss to Moorpark.
It was not Jefferson's best night on defense, but it's obvious they way he attacks defenders as a running back that he relishes contact. As a running back, he has the ability to play on the next level if that were his passion. His style reminds me a bit of another two-way star, only this one stayed on offense, USC's Stafon Johnson.
Once he has the luxury of focusing full time on defense, his physicalness and aggression will manifest itself for readily. He has a nice break on the ball carrier and finishes his tackles by running through a ball carrier. Offensive players rarely bounce off of him and keep his feet.
Jefferson is agile enough to remain at safety, and he's big and physical enough to play a linebacker on the next level. The key to Jefferson is just get him on campus and worry about his position later.
An idea that UCLA is very much looking forward to.
#1 RB/S/PR Tony Jefferson
* vs. Moorpark (9/4/09)
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