There’s only ONE . . . day remaining in our countdown, Oklahoma fans! We’ve finally reached the final day before kickoff, but before the real festivities begin tomorrow, let us take one final look back at another phenomenal Sooner in former OU safety and current pro, Tony Jefferson.
Intercepting quarterbacks, chasing down running backs, and leveling wide receivers: Tony Jefferson did it all. At 5’11”, Jefferson wasn’t the tallest defender, but at 215 pounds, he could still impact the opposition with a slamming ferocity. Whether it was making a tackle for a loss or breaking up a pass over the middle, Jefferson was exceptional all over the field.
In 2010, Tony Jefferson was one of the top signees in Oklahoma’s stout recruiting class. By many recruiting services, the Chula Vista, California prospect was listed as an ‘Athlete,’ because he played on both sides of the ball. However, like many of the other schools courting Jefferson, Oklahoma knew where he would be most special: on defense.
Almost as soon as Jefferson arrived in Norman, he was turning heads in practice and forcing the OU coaching staff to put him on the field. His natural talent and ability was too great to keep him sidelined, so as a true freshman Jefferson played in all 14 games, starting 9 of those contests. He proved to be a pivotal asset to the team, recording 65 total tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. His second interception put the finishing touches on a dominant Fiesta Bowl victory over the University of Connecticut.
One of his finer individual moments happened in 2011 against Ball State. Jefferson tied an OU single-game record by making an interception on three consecutive Ball State drives. Jefferson would go on to start 25 of the 26 games he played from 2011-2012, compiling 258 career tackles, seven sacks and eight interceptions. In his final season at OU, Jefferson was named to the All-Big 12 First Team by the AP and the coaches as well as the Academic All-Big XII First Team.
Jefferson would forgo his senior season to enter the 2013 NFL Draft, but when it came time for the draft, he was not selected. Of course, that did not keep Jefferson from following his dream, as he eventually signed a contract as a free agent with the Arizona Cardinals. In his second preseason game, Jefferson had two interceptions and five tackles, and the for the next four seasons was a mainstay on the Cardinals’ defense.
As of this past March, Jefferson is now on a four-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens. Tony Jefferson’s journey to professional football is a testament to his hard work and determination. Combined with his innate ability, the sky’s the limit for Tony Jefferson, and his path should serve as an example for all young athletes with the desire to achieve their goals.
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