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First-Year Profile: Jonathan Jefferson
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(Photo from Jefferson’s Twitter/Hudl Screenshot)
Over the next month, DogWatch will be looking at the Bulldogs’ incoming freshman in a new series called First Year Profile.
Today, we will look at Jonathan Jefferson.
Ranking: No. 128 overall, No. 20 defensive linemen and No. 14 player in Georgia, per the 247Sports Composite.
Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 295-pounds
Background: Jefferson had many offers from top-rated schools, including Alabama, Auburn and Florida. However, he ultimately committed to Georgia on March 23, 2020. He then signed his letter of intent on the first day of the Early Signing Period and enrolled at UGA shortly after. His recruitment was drama-free and he remained a solid recruit for head coach Kirby Smart and his coaching staff.
2021 Potential Impact: The Bulldogs lost a huge piece of the puzzle in Malik Herring season, so Jefferson could easily be his replacement. The two are very comparable in size and on film, which only helps Jefferson’s case moving forward into his freshman campaign. Nonetheless, veterans Tramel Walthour and Travon Walker are returning, so Jefferson will be competing for playing against them.
Walker is more than likely going to be the starter, which makes it a head-to-head battle against Walthour for that second spot on the depth chart. Walthour may have the edge because he’s been with the program for a few years, but it helps that Jefferson enrolled early. There’s really a chance for Jefferson to be used as a “situational player” in Dan Lanning’s defense, which is how Walker was used in 2019.
Jefferson mainly played strongside defensive end at Douglas County (Ga.) and DogWatch could easily see him playing the same position at Georgia. Nevertheless, he is very versatile and can play defensive tackle as well. Jefferson’s 6-foot-3, 295-pound frame should also allow him to compete in the SEC as a freshman at defensive end. However, he will be less likely to be impactful at that position during his freshman season because of the talent above him.
Senior Devonte Wyatt and sophomore Jalen Carter are likely the top two on the depth chart at defensive tackle. Then, there are a few underclassmen that have a shot of playing, too. That list includes Nazir Stackhouse, Warren Brinson and Bill Norton and Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins.
So, Jefferson’s best chance to see the field is at defensive end right now.
Scouting Report: Big bodied defensive end that is a good candidate to kick down to an interior defender. Thick frame and not overly long. Basketball player that is athletic enough to be a situational jump ball wide receiver in high school. More of a 3-4 end than a true edge rusher but has some positional versatility. Big body that can move. Checks the box on productivity. Monochromatic as a pass rusher with limited bend and nuance. Will take what is there defensively but not necessarily a disruptor. Naturally strong but needs to be more assertive. Versatile defensive lineman with a coveted body type that is a likely Power Five starter with NFL Draft upside. - Barton Simmons
Highlights: Check out his highlights on Hudl