Henderson (Nev.) three-star defensive lineman Noah Jefferson has slipped through the cracks of the recruiting process.
Only being pursued by a few schools before committing to USC last May,
Jefferson made his pledge vowing to focus on his grades. Thus far, he
has done just that.
“My GPA was extremely low at the start of my junior year,” said
Jefferson. “Then I got with my councilor, my principle and my AD, who
is also my coach, and I started retaking the classes I messed up on my
“Knowing that I can do well in the classroom and how far I can take my
intelligence motivates me. I'm getting all A’s and B’s now, plus I took
honors classes over the summer. One of my favorite classes right now is
Honors Psychology2. I want to major in psychology or maybe journalism in
On the gridiron as a junior, Jefferson played offense and defense.
Moving around from tight end to linebacker to defensive end, he has had
a chance to focus in more on playing defensive tackle as a senior.
“Our defense was a weakness last year because all of our seniors were on
offense,” said Jefferson. “This year it’s the opposite. I’m playing
more defense and statistically I have six sacks and 30 tackles in
about seven games.”
In fact, defensively, Liberty High School has held two opponents to
less than 100-yards of total offense this season.
On Saturdays, Jefferson has been glued to his television watching USC
“They’re showing a better and more versatile offense this year,” said
Jefferson. “With Adoree Jackson and Juju Smith, they have more speed
and playmakers on offense.
“On defense, they have such a good defensive line and athletic team,
they can match up against anyone. The defensive line is big enough to
play Stanford and then they have athletic enough linebackers that they
can stop the spread teams.
“It’s fun watching them and I really like their scheme. It shows you
how good their defense can be in the future, or how good our defense
will be — I should say.”
Yet, at present date, it’s hard to know what USC team will show up each
“I think all defenses and offense have an off night,” said Jefferson.
“They can play well and still have a relapse of last season. I don’t
pay attention to them losing so much as how they lost.
“Really, it’s about how they take being down by two touchdowns or how
they bounce back from losing. The ASU game was really weird to me
because it was such an offensive game. It was 38-34 and that last play
was a mental lapse.
“That’s something you can fix with five minutes of practice time. That
was really a game where USC just didn’t know how to finish. With
Arizona, I think the depth on defense played a factor. Arizona is a
team that you know is going to give you a long night with how fast and
physical they play.
“If you watch that fourth quarter, Arizona really started going after
USC with the short routes and quick slants. The depth at linebacker
hurt USC because they weren’t getting out on those routes, which is
when Arizona started coming back.”
Jefferson hopes to improve USC’s depth on the defensive line as a four
or three-technique next season. At 6-foot-5, he wants to step on campus
at 290-pounds, while he currently weighs 297-pounds.
Of course, there are other schools still attempting to sway him away
“It’s still Arizona State, Oregon State and the same mix of schools,
although Arkansas is trying to get me to visit because my older
brother is playing down there,” said Jefferson. “I’ve been hearing
they’re going to offer me, but I really don’t know where that stands.
“Right now I’m committed to USC and will take my visit there in
January. Recruiting isn’t a focus because I’m just trying to finish off
school and keep up my grades. If I have a bye week, I’ll probably go
out to a USC game for an unofficial.”
Jefferson speaks to USC defensive line coach Chris Wilson almost every
“We just talk about the scheme and how they’ll use me when I get
there,” said Jefferson. “We also talk about other players they’re
“They offered Tate Martell and Tyjon Lindsey from Bishop Gorman, so
they want me to help recruit. We talk about guys like Rasheem Green and
Jefferson grading high
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