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Jonathan Jefferson/Instagram
4-star prospect Jonathan Jefferson is the most recent commitment to the 2021 class at Georgia.

Jonathan Jefferson: 5 things to know about this week’s 2021 Georgia commit

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry is about all things Jonathan Jefferson after the 4-star DL committed to UGA early this week. 

Jonathan Jefferson committed to Georgia earlier this week.

It was a big commitment for the Bulldogs because Jefferson will add a great deal to the defensive front in the years to come. Here’s a few quick things to know here:

  • Jefferson is now up to 6 feet, 4 inches tall and 270 pounds.
  • He rates as a 4-star strong-side DE. The 247Sports Composite rating has him as the nation’s No. 11 SDE and the nation’s No. 143 overall prospect for 2021.
  • The Douglas County High (Douglasville, Ga.) standout will enroll early in January of 2021.
  • He is the fourth public commitment of the 2021 class for UGA at this time. Those players all currently reside and play high school football in the state of Georgia.
  • Jefferson is also a very impressive basketball player for Douglas County. He’s a guard. Not in the post.

What sparked the Jonathan Jefferson commitment?

Georgia was the very first program to offer Jefferson. That offer came way back in November of 2017.

Was this decision to commit to Georgia planned? Or sparked by the events of the world this week?

“I think it is a little of both actually,” Douglas County coach Johnny White said. “A little bit of both. When he took his visit to see Georgia about a month ago or so, he really said that it felt like home. He had a couple of things scheduled before we went on this quarantine break. After that though, I think he had already had his mind made up.”

“We didn’t talk about it. He just called me [Sunday] and said ‘Coach I am committing’ and I said to who and he said to Georgia. Then I said ‘Do you like it?’ and I said ‘If you like it, then I love it’ with that.”

Jonathan Jefferson-Georgia recruiting-Georgia football
Jonathan Jefferson will very likely be an interior defensive lineman in college. That’s just the way his body is developing at its current rate. He was 245 pounds at the beginning of his sophomore season and is right at 270 pounds now. (Jonathan Jefferson/Instagram)

Jonathan Jefferson: Look for him to slide inside in college

Jefferson plays basketball for Douglas County, too.

He was grabbing steals, pulling down rebounds and swishing some three-pointers at that. Check out the first play of his junior highlight tape from the football field. He flashes some of that impressive athleticism on the first clip.

He’s flanked way out wide as the “X” receiver.

Despite that level of athleticism, his coach does not feel he will be a defender on the edge out in college.

“No, he’s going inside,” White said.

Jefferson lost the second half of his sophomore year to an injury. He had a meniscus tear that did not require surgery. It just didn’t allow him to play.

That’s why his junior tape was labeled as “The Bounce Back” for the 2019 season.

It meant that the three-year starter played defensive end and wide receiver as a junior.

“We didn’t use him too much at defensive tackle last year but this year we are going to use him there,” White said.”We are going to play him strictly at d-tackle and I think his advantage there will be his athleticism. He is a freakish athlete to be that size. You should see him on the basketball court.”

Everyone should. Check those clips out below.

Those clips reflect exactly what White meant. It should certainly delight DawgNation to know that an athlete with those skills will be playing the interior defensive line at UGA.

“He doesn’t play on the post,” White said. “He plays on the wing. He brings the ball up in the press. He’s that type of athlete.”

His commitment should be seen as a major plus here for the recruiting efforts of defensive line coach Tray Scott.

Jefferson, due to injuries, started the first scrimmage of his freshman year at Douglas County. He had to line up for the first time on the varsity against Georgia powerhouse Grayson High School. That was the fall of 2017.

He came away with 2.5 sacks working at defensive end. The 4-star prospect showed what he could do. The early potential he displayed allowed White and his staff to moves one of their starting defensive ends inside to tackle.

There was just that clear sense to get Jefferson on the field. He was ready to not just hold his own but to make plays.

“He actually came over to [Douglas County] for the basketball program,” White said. “I can remember sitting his Mom down and saying this boy is going to be a big-time football recruit. She said ‘you really think so’ and I said yes and by the end of his [freshman] season, he got an offer from Georgia. I always felt that Georgia had a special place in his heart and in his home.”

The Jefferson family is all about toughness

Discipline. Toughness. Those traits are inherent in the Douglas County program. That’s just what White and his teams have always been about. His players are expected to excel in the classroom and show discipline in all facets of their lives.

Jefferson reflects all of those traits, but also the work ethic of his family, too.

His father was a former heavyweight boxer. Jefferson’s father, Derrick, actually fought for the heavyweight title during his time as a professional boxer.

The “D-Train” fought Wladimir Klitschko for the WBO heavyweight championship of the world. BoxRec.com lists his professional record at 28-4-1. He had 21 knockouts.

Wikipedia lists that date as March 24, 2001. Klitschko won that bout by a TKO in the second round. It was almost the exact same day his father fought for the title.

“That mindset carries over with Jonathan,” White said.  “He’s always been hard-nosed and a worker.”

It is also unique that Jefferson committed to Georgia one day prior to the day his father fought Klitschko for the WBO heavyweight title.

“Jonathan’s work ethic has never been a problem for us with our program,” White said. “We try to put them through the woodwork. I just think with him going to the next level I think the sky is the limit for him.”

White deems this to be a very secure commitment for the Bulldogs.

“He’s done,” White said. “The one thing that I can say about him is that his parents are real good people. He talked to his parents about it. His parents are really big on his word being his word. Do you know what I mean? About being honest and respectful. So for him to make this decision this early, I am almost certain to say that he is done. I feel that he is done.”

Jefferson carries a 3.2 grade-point average in the classroom. He has a qualifying score on his standardized test, but that probably won’t be good enough for the Jefferson family.

“He took the [SAT] test for the first time and scored a 980,” White said. “He’s already qualified but with his parents the way they are of course I know they want him to score at least 1100. So I know he is going to take it again. But he’s good to go. He can walk in right now and be ready to go academically.”

You asked for it. We heard you. Our weekly live DawgNation “Before the Hedges” recruiting show is now up on Apple podcasts. Check it out. 

Jonathan Jefferson-Georgia recruiting-Georgia football
Jonathan Jefferson felt ready to commit to Georgia after his “Junior Day” visit earlier this year. (Jonathan Jefferson/Instagram)

More than football: An important bit of perspective for Jonathan Jefferson and his family right now

There are many things of greater importance than college football recruiting across our country right now.

Yet if you believe in the power of prayer, then kindly consider saying a word tonight for Jefferson and his family.

Jonathan Jefferson-G
Jefferson picked up his very first offer from the University of Georgia back in November of 2017. (Jonathan Jefferson/Twitter)

He told me earlier this week his father had been hospitalized for what he believed to be the coronavirus.

There was no rush to make it a big bold headline. Or to make a huge deal out of it.

It is just a part of his story now.

When Jefferson made his commitment known to Georgia, his father was fighting the effects of that virus that affects every waking hour of our daily lives.

It gives us all a little bit of perspective we all need. It does provide a stark contrast to the happiness that should have swirled around his commitment day earlier this week. Like most commitments when an elite player makes his decision.

He’s going to be a Bulldog. Jefferson will be a great football player in college. He will be a monster in the middle of the defense. Some day.

But there are just greater things affecting his family and our entire world right now, too.

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