Former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson is looking to reinvent himself as a person. And he is doing so in a big way.
Jefferson returned to Baton Rouge to finish his degree after serving stints on a NFL, CFL and AFL roster. He is scheduled to graduate next May and still has hopes of playing in the NFL.
Jefferson now busies himself being a role model in the Baton Rouge community. He has found an affinity for philanthropy, as he has an upcoming charity basketball tournament in early December.
The former LSU signal-caller spoke with Bleacher Report about his success and failures against Alabama, his relationship with Les Miles, his off-the-field incidents, why he believes he can start in the NFL and life growing up in South Louisiana.
Jordan Jefferson: My charity event in early December is to support the education of Arlington Preparatory Academy, which is an underprivileged school with at-risk students. It is at the beginning of December, and what we want to do is use these funds from the event to support the education for the school. We are going to use the money to buy new books, new computers and new learning technology. It's to let the students know that somebody cares about their education and that you have to access to be whoever you want to be. We eventually want to go to other schools in the area as well.
B/R: What must a team do to beat Alabama?
JJ: Staying disciplined is key. Those victories we had against Alabama, we had an aggressive offensive approach. We threw on first and second downs. You never want to put yourself in third and long situations against that type of defense. That approach helped us out tremendously as an offense. Nick Saban disciplines his team to make sure there is not many mistakes. That makes a team like that hard to beat. There are not too many flaws, blown coverages or missed assignments.
B/R: Why was it so tough to move the football against the Crimson Tide in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game?
JJ: In the national championship game, they did make a lot of adjustments. And a team like Alabama that knows us so well, it is hard to come back that same year and redo what we did the first time. It was hard for us to make that kind of adjustments against that kind of team. It will always stick with me. That was one of the lowest points. We saw so many opportunities we left on the field that night. Alabama beat us in all three phases.
B/R: Was there any division amongst the team after the loss?
JJ: Throughout the entire situation, we stuck together. We knew we needed each other that night. Inside the program, we supported each other. But it did affect us because we knew we had a chance to win that game. But there was no division after the game.
B/R: You said before the interview you just got finished speaking with Les Miles. How would you describe your relationship now?
JJ: My relationship with Coach Miles is great. He's had my back ever since I was a freshman. He believed in me. He supported me tremendously. We still sit and talk about football and reminisce on those memories that we had on our success throughout my four years of college. I think what was funny and pretty untold was Les Miles dancing at one of our practices. On certain days, they play music for crowd noise and if it is a song Coach Miles like, he would start dancing to it. It was hilarious.
B/R: How was your relationship with fellow LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee? What is it like now?
JJ: My relationship with Jarrett Lee in college was great. We were leaders of the team. There were moments in our career when we had to step in and get the job done. There were a lot of situations where he would give me advice and a lot of situations where I would give him advice. After college, I've seen Jarrett a few times and communicated a few times but not consistently. But I am still a big fan of Jarrett and I know he is of me.
B/R: What motivates you?
JJ: What drives me to be successful is the failures I have been a part of. I look at those failures as motivation to push to be a better person and to become a better football player.
B/R: What were some of those failures?
JJ: Some of the games I lost in college and some of the lost relationships that I had with great people. Throughout my trials and tribulations, I had some really good relationships with some people. During those trials, some of my friends turned their back on me. I just wish there was a certain way I could maintain those relationships, but they kinda turned their back on me through a time I really needed them the most. There wasn't a fine line between who was my friend and who was my associate. But through the tough times, that helped define who were my true friends. It is definitely difficult to distinguish between the two.
B/R: Who were some of the friends that stuck by you?
JJ: Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Brandon Taylor and just the majority of my football team really supported me.
B/R: Were you ever frustrated to how you were utilized in the offense?
JJ: There were some games where I threw the ball 25 to 29 times, but there were some games I threw the ball 10 times. I wish it could have been a little bit more consistent with a little bit more passing, but overall LSU did a great job of putting me in a great position to be victorious and to be successful.
B/R: Walk us through your post-LSU career as a professional quarterback up this point.
JJ: I did some time with the Buccaneers. I then spent some time with Marc Trestman in Montreal in the CFL. I was able to take different parts of the CFL to help improve my game. After a season in the CFL, I spent a season in the AFL with Pittsburgh. That situation was very humbling. The smaller field helped me develop as a passer. I've grasped a lot of learning experiences from the different leagues that will only help me develop into the quarterback I want to be.
B/R: Do you think you can be a starting QB in the NFL?
JJ: I've shown flashes throughout my college career that I can maintain an offense and play against top-notch competition. My resume speaks for itself and I am patiently waiting. I honestly think it will eventually come. So I am just keeping the faith and letting it all happen in God's hands.
B/R: How would you answer a question from a NFL GM about your past off-the-field history?
JJ: I would have to explain that some of those situations were a misunderstanding and due to me being at the wrong place at the wrong time put me in that position to face that adversity. There wasn't any facts that was proven that I was initially involved in those situations.
B/R: LSU Football players have had their troubles when going out in public. Are they targets?
JJ: They may not necessarily be targets, but it is a great situation to put an athlete in a troubling situation. All it takes is for one person to say 'I saw this student athlete do this, this and this,' and then different news reporters will look for that one student say they saw an athlete do.
B/R: Was the bar incident your biggest regret at LSU?
JJ: That definitely was not my biggest regret. Everything happens for a reason. I may not understand the reasoning for that adversity happening, but eventually I will understand. So I really don't have any regrets because I live through the grace of God, and I know he has put me in positions that I can handle so every situation I have experienced, good or bad, will always be a learning situation for me, and I will always thank God for putting me in those positions. My experiences have helped me grow into a more mature person. I view things now from a different perspective. As a starting quarterback at 18 years old, my maturity level as always had to be high.
B/R: What exactly do you remember from the bar fight?
JJ: It was such an untold story because of who I was. At the current time, it was such big news that everybody wanted to take the topic and kind of blow it out of proportion. Other than that, I wasn't involved in the fight. It was just somebody that said that the people that we saw around and my name was one of them. Once my name was told and connected to the fight, it was blown out of proportion. It definitely was a tricky process that I had to go through. My lawyer did case studies that had similar situations to me, and I was the only person that received a felony charge for it.
B/R: How was life growing up in South Louisiana?
Would you define Jordan Jefferson's LSU career as successful?
JJ: My childhood was pretty good. I watched my parents work hard for where they are today. They always taught us to be very respectable and very humble individuals and to work hard for what you want. I watched my parents work hard to better my childhood. My dad, in my early life when I first was born, he had to ride 10 to 15 miles to work on a bicycle and carry me in his arms. They helped me know there is anything I can accomplish in this life.
B/R: How do you want LSU fans to remember you?
JJ: I would want people to view me as someone who is humble. There have been a lot people who have been in my position as a high profiled player. Each fan that comes up to me, I treat them with great respect. There have been a lot of situations where I could have given up on my dreams, but I keep going. Seeing the smiles on kids faces is such a special feeling, and it is good to let them know somebody cares about them.
You can donate to Jefferson's charity event by clicking here.