Every day here at Your Best 11, we are counting down to the start of the regular season with our top 150 players for the 2012 season.
No. 100: Tony Jefferson, No. 1, Oklahoma, Safety
There are very few safeties in the nation who are as active as Tony Jefferson. He inserts himself into every facet of the game—run and pass, behind the line and in coverage deep. He's a very active ball player—something that his energy level and motor both make his best asset.
Jefferson is well-versed in making proper run fits for the Sooners defense. He was third on the team in tackles, and he even posted 7.5 tackles for loss. That activeness also comes into play in the back end, where he nabbed four interceptions and broke up a handful of passes too.
Jefferson was far from immune to the woes of the Oklahoma defense from a season ago. He, along with all of his back-end teammates, were lost in coverage. They were poor technically at times, like the Texas Tech game, and that inconsistency reared its head through out their season.
After starting hot against Florida State, the Sooners defense was more bad than good. They shut down Kansas State, but gave up 500-plus yards to Mizzou, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Baylor, as well as 495 yards to Oklahoma State.
The return of Mike Stoops is a big deal in Norman. However, the departure of defensive backs coach Willie Martinez is the biggest news. With Martinez gone, this defense can get back to being the unit that set the pace in the Big 12 for the last decade, until last year's debacle.
Expect Tony Jefferson to be a big part of that push towards respectability. He should get back on to the All-Big 12 team. And quite honestly, given the ability this active safety possesses in the back end, I expect him to be in the running for the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
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