Let's start with some more followups on the news of UCLA latest commitment from yesterday. I thought the lead paragraph of Dohn's story was telling (emphasis added):
July is traditionally a vacation month for college football coaches, but it is also turning into a big recruiting month for UCLA after coach Rick Neuheisel's program landed another prep player.
That should serve as another pointer on how hard Neuheisel is working to turn around UCLA. As far as Jefferson is concerned he sounds like a baller at least according to the scouts. From ESPN.com:
ESPN's Billy Tucker said of the news, "In a bit of a surprise, UCLA is getting one of the better in-state players in this 2010 class and overall athletes in the country. A guy who is very versatile with great skill-set on both sides of the ball, we feel Jefferson will likely head to Westwood as a strong safety and depending how his leaner, well-defined body continues to physically develop, grow into a disruptive outside linebacker."
"Jefferson is extremely explosive to the football and closes on ball carriers with striking burst and velocity. He simply swarms to the ball with great speed and intensity and what standout is the little wasted motion he shows on his pursuit. There is no doubt he is tough, explosiveness and physical enough at the point of attack to play linebacker at the next level but his range, breaking quickness and overall ball-hawking skills does make strong safety a position where we forecast a TON of production for the Bruins."
"UCLA beat out a lot of top national programs for Jefferson's services as Neuheisel continues to add some nice pieces in the Bruins' rebuilding process."
As a junior, the 6-foot-0 195-pound Jefferson registered 88 tackles and four sacks while also rushing for 1,328 yards and 28 touchdowns.
The Bruins now have four ESPNU 150 Watch List prospects among their seven pledges.
Thanks to muircoach for pointing us to that piece. More on Jefferson's athletic ability below.
The most interesting blurb I have read on Jefferson is the following take from our colleagues at BurntOrangeNation:
On the radar: Tony Jefferson. With Ahmad Dixon switching his commitment to Baylor, the Longhorns may elect to pursue another defensive back for the 2010 class. One possibility is Chula Vista Eastside's Tony Jefferson ($), a top California prospect who plays outside linebacker and running back for his high school, but is being recruited as a safety or running back at the top level. At 6-0, 201 pounds, Jefferson is about the same size as Corey Nelson, so there is a chance that he could remain at linebacker or play the safety/linebacker hybrid position that is becoming more popular with the continued proliferation of spread offenses. [...]
As a running back, Jefferson took advantage of his 4.5 speed to gain more than 1,300 yards as a junior and score 28 touchdowns. He doesn't have breakaway speed like Lache Seastrunk, but there are observers who think that he could be a running back at the next level. Texas would recruit Jefferson as a safety, where he has some attributes similar to Ahmad Dixon -- the ability to run the alleys and play aggressively downhill, as well as use his entire body to strike opposing players with a great deal of force. His ability to run stride for stride with opposing running backs makes him projectable as a safety, as does his ability to explode downhill out of his backpedal.
In many ways, Jefferson is a similar prospect to Tyson Coleman and would become the only out-of-state player currently on the radar besides Jordan Hicks if the Longhorn staff chooses to pursue him. It's a big if, however, as the Texas coaches haven't contacted Jefferson, who needs to send them his highlight film if he is truly interested in making it down to Austin. He will take his official visits in the fall, but may need to make it down to a summer camp to really prove his interest. However, as a player with the capability of replacing Ahmad Dixon's skills, he is more intriguing than any of the in-state players who remain uncommitted.
Kids like Jefferson will just add the kind of athleticism in our defensive backfield we haven't seen since the 80s and 90s. Two years ago we brought in Hester, Dye and Moore. This past year we added Sermons, McKay. Pollard and Price. This year we now have Jefferson and Eanest Thomas. Now both of these kids have the kind of athletcism that could potentially allow coaches to use them as hybrid LBs/safeties. Guess when that comes in really hand? When UCLA will go up against spread offenses.
You think Neuheisel and his defensive coaches are pursuing a specific strategy when filling out their recruiting slots? Yep. Just look at the way they are stocking up our backfield. Anyway, we are not done yet by any means. We will still need some defensive lineman and I am sure the coaches are doing everything they can to address that need. Meanwhile, going back to Dohn's lead mentioned up top no doubt now about the momentum UCLA has on the recruiting trail and I am sure recruits around the country are taking note.
Dodgers MANNY RAMIREZ Pinch Hit Grand Slam vs. Reds 7/22/09 (via graphracker)
[side note man I miss Vin Scully]