Why 5-Star CeCe Jefferson Will Sign with the Florida Gators
Instead of waiting for another eight months, let’s let the cat out of the bag right now.
Jefferson is going to commit to the Florida Gators. He’s going to harass SEC quarterbacks for at least three years and help keep their defense at an elite level. There are simply too many signs pointing in this team's direction. Anything else would be a downright shocker.
Sorry, Alabama, Auburn and USC—Jefferson is taking his talents to Gainesville.
Florida Is Close to Home
Jefferson’s home in Glen Saint Mary is approximately 45 minutes from Gainesville by car. The close proximity would allow friends and family to come and watch Jefferson play. Every kid dreams of this and it often plays a big factor when recruits make their final decision.
The highly recruited defensive end already mentioned this possibility to Zach Abolverdi of Gator Sports.
Distance really doesn’t matter to me, but it would be nice for my parents to come check up on me whenever they want to, Jefferson said. And the gameday environment and atmosphere is just crazy. Coming to The Swamp, day or night, I get chills every time.
Nothing like having mom stop by to drop off a few home-cooked meals. That certainly wouldn’t be happening if Jefferson sided with Alabama, Auburn or USC, but it does leave Florida State in the running.
That's just about the only thing the Seminoles and Gators have in common when recruiting Jefferson.
His Parents Are Gator Fans
We hear stories all the time of how players grew up as fans of certain programs, and how it’s been a lifelong dream to play for a particular school.
It isn’t very often we hear about the parents and their school spirit.
Jefferson’s parents bleed orange and blue, according to Zach Abolverdi of Gator Sports.
“If it was up to my parents,” Jefferson said, “I’d be signing with Florida right now.”
It's a little deeper than just that, though.
Jefferson's father is marked for life when it comes to the Gators, he told Thomas Goldkamp of 247Sports:
Oh man, my dad who just walked off has a freaking Gator head tattooed on his arm, Jefferson said. When you go in my yard, he has a board thing that's posted above my door that says 'Home of a Gator.' He's a Gator fan. He's a die-hard, he's always been. That's his team.
Forget letting down thousands of Florida fans. I’m not sure how anyone can say no to mom and dad.
He's Visited Florida More Than Any Other School
Jefferson may be keeping his decision close to his vest, but all you have to do is check how many times he’s unofficially visited Florida and it gives you a good idea that he’s picked the Gators as his school of choice.
Jefferson first unofficially visited the Gators in October 2012 during the LSU game. Including that trip, he’s visited the school seven times, most recently in April of this year. The only school that comes close to that would be the Florida State Seminoles, a program Jefferson has looked at five times.
Remember, unofficial visits aren’t free. A player stopping by seven times in less than two years is a clear indication that the school he's visiting is in the driver’s seat.
If that doesn’t convince you, maybe this will...
Florida's Buck Position Fits Him Perfectly
Having the family show up to games is cool. Playing for a school you grew up watching is surreal. However, at the end of the day, kids as talented as Jefferson want to play for a school that can get them prepared for the next level.
Which school is going to give him a chance to play right away and put him in the right position to maximize his talent?
Jefferson is the ideal player for the buck position in Florida’s defense. He can play with his hand in the dirt or in space as a linebacker. He's a freakish athlete who has great pass-rush tools but is also comfortable in coverage. The buck position is a big responsibility, but it also allows for the player to have the biggest impact due to the versatility it requires.
Dante Fowler is playing the position this season, and he’s a possible first-round pick in next year's draft. Assuming Fowler leaves school after this season, Jefferson would likely see considerable playing time as a true freshman.
NFL star Brian Orakpo also played the position when Muschamp was at Texas.
Jefferson would have the biggest impact at Florida and secure a future in the NFL.