"I just wanted to see what the game-day environment is like up there,"
Jefferson said, when asked what he was focusing on during the trip. "I
wanted to see how the fans reacted pre-game so we walked around campus and hung
out in the Grove before the game started. I wanted to see how the players reacted
towards the game and what their relationship is like with their coaches."
What did he learn about the Ole Miss game-day environment?
"They have some die-hard fans. It's like a big family up there. They all
talk amongst each other, tailgate, and cheer on their school. They bring a lot
of energy out there. They love their Rebels up there."
Did that come as a surprise to Scout.com's No. 44 nationally-ranked defensive end, considering
the season Ole Miss is having?
"That really doesn't surprise me. I kind of knew what to expect. I knew
there would be a lot of people there. I know a bunch of Ole Miss fans from home
and they're bragging about Ole Miss to me whether they're losing or winning
so it didn't surprise me they packed it out for that game. They just love their
Rebels up there. That really catches my eye about them too. It says a lot about
their fans to still support their team when things are bad. When I came here
to North Pike we had not done anything in no telling how long and our class
turned it around. Our fans have been behind us the whole time and it's made
it that much more special for us."
How did the Ole Miss players react towards the game?
"I could tell they had their head screwed on because they came out in the
first quarter and scored on their opening drive. They were into it. They just
wore down in the second half, but I could tell they were amped up for the game."
What is the relationship like between the players and coaches at Ole Miss?
"The players kind of feed off of their coaches. Their coaches came out
amped up and the players kind of fed off of them. It was real up-tempo and everybody
was ready. We got to go down there on the field before the game while they were
warming up, and I just kind of soaked it all up."
Was there anything else Jefferson focused on during the trip?
"I wanted to see what their depth chart looked like, and that's the thing
that just jumped out at me and caught my attention. I could go right in there
and fight for a spot as a freshman for a great school against the best competition
in the country."
There were freshmen littered on the field on both sides of the ball for Ole Miss
Saturday, and that did not go unnoticed.
"They don't care if you are a freshman or senior up there. If you can play,
you play. I kept looking at the program at the jersey numbers and at times over
half of their defense and offense playing were freshmen. They just play whoever
produces and makes plays. That's all any player can ask for. I just want a
fair chance to play my freshman season."
Did the blowout loss to Alabama have any negative impact on his thoughts about
"I look at it like this. Ole Miss has a real young team. Alabama has like
22 seniors that are playing out there and Ole Miss is playing a bunch
of freshmen. You have to have some experience to win. I don't care if it's
high school, college or pro ball. You have to be experienced. Alabama had the
big edge in experience so the game didn't change my mind about what I think
about Ole Miss."
Was the overall trip about what Jefferson expected? Better
"It was better because that was only my second game to ever go to up there.
I went to the Vandy game last year, and we got up there late. I didn't really
know what to expect but I got up there and had fun. I met so many good people
up there, and I see playing time opportunities for a good young team. That's
exciting for me. At the end of the day it was a good trip and I look forward
to going back up there real soon."
Where has Jefferson visited this fall and where does he go to next?
"I've been to a couple of USM games, and I'm going back to another one
this weekend. I'm going over to Alabama to see them play LSU."
Who are the main schools staying in touch right now?
"The three Mississippi schools and Alabama. ULL does too."
What is Alabama saying?
"I've been talking to their coaches a lot on the phone lately. Coach
Saban wants to have a chance to talk to me in person so I'm going to go over
there to see them play LSU. We'll see what happens from there. They haven't
offered me yet but maybe they will."
LSU has always been involved but things have slowed down.
"I haven't been hearing from them lately. Not sure why."
Jefferson has 97 tackles and 10 sacks through nine games of action. North Pike stands
at 6-3 and face Tylertown in a division match up Friday.
"We're getting better and better each week. We're coming together as
a team. Everybody is finding out who the true leaders are and everybody is buying
into the program. I started off slow too. I'm playing on both sides of the
ball and special teams. I didn't come into the season in the condition I needed
to be in to never come off of the field, but I'm getting there. It took me some
time to get adjusted."
Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org