Welcome to Saturday Down South’s “D-line Week”, where we talk with some of the top realistic defensive line targets out there for SEC schools. We’ve interviewed some of the biggest names in the country, and we’ll rank them at the end of the week. See who your school has a chance of luring to campus.
CeCe Jefferson already sounds like he could be a spokesperson for a high-end shoe company, mens clothing line, or a fine-dining restaurant. He gives an interview with ease. He’s smooth, eloquent and quick on his feet.
In other words, his demeanor is similar to how he plays the game, which explains why he’s rated a top 10 prospect in the nation and has five stars attached to his name. It explains why Nick Saban comes to his hometown and not only the other way around. He’s in the Florida Gators’ backyard at Baker County High School, being from the greater Jacksonville (Fla.) area, but Alabama, Auburn and national champion Florida State certainly have his ear.
Jefferson is like a Swiss Army knife, when it comes to where he’d fit in on the field. Defensive end, tight end, fullback, running back … even a Wildcat quarterback. He can do it all, though his college future is at defensive end.
“I’d have to say (the coaches) like my passion for the game all around, that I have a motor and use my hands well and I can help you at multiple positions–that I’m versatile,” Jefferson told Saturday Down South, when asked why somebody like Saban would swing by his school. “They could label me as an ‘athlete’ instead of just defensive end, and I’d take that as a compliment, you know? That’s how I feel about Jadeveon Clowney, that he’s nothing but a skill player who happens to play on the defensive line. He could play anything he wants, really. He’s amazing.”
There’s a very good chance Jefferson could end up in the SEC.
“If it’s hard for somebody to get fired up playing in an SEC game, then there’s something wrong with you,” Jefferson told SDS. “The fans do it the right way and they let you feel the love. They let you know. There’s no other fanbase like the SEC fanbase. Even the sorriest teams in the league get fired up and they can beat you. Anything can happen. Those fans can make those teams have an extra pep in their step, and then you’ve got yourself a ballgame no matter who you play.”
Speaking of Clowney, his former defensive line coach at South Carolina was Brad Lawing–until the 2012 season. Well, guess where Lawing is today? Florida. And don’t think that little tidbit of information doesn’t have a lot to do with why Jefferson is seriously considering the Gators–along with it being closest to home.
“I like the fact that it’s close to home, and they do show me a bunch of love when I go there,” Jefferson told SDS. “Coach Lawing is a big part of it. I’ve seen quotes from Clowney about how he has given Coach Lawing so much credit. If he can do those things with Clowney, I figure why not me? There are multiple reasons I love Gainesville, but those are the most important to me.
“On 247Sports, that Crystal Ball thing they’re doing? Everybody has me going to Florida. I don’t mind that, everybody has their different opinions, but at the end of the day that’s not going to affect my decision at all. At the end of the day I’m going where I need to go … College is a four year deal, and it could change your life or it might be miserable if you don’t pick the right place. You might as well enjoy (the recruiting process) and take you time and find the best fit for you. That’s my take on it.”
Editor’s note: Saturday Down South’s references to ratings follow the 247Sports.com composite rankings for high school prospects.