The most important UGA football recruit to watch over the next few days is Van Jefferson, the 4-star wide receiver out of Tennessee. His father is former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Shawn Jefferson.
There have been some conflicting reports over Jefferson’s commitment status, and the reasons behind it.
Jefferson told the AJC that he remains committed to UGA but says it’s “50/50” between the Bulldogs and Ole Miss. He planned on being an early enrollee — and if he sticks with UGA, he could report to Athens on Monday. Or he could delay his enrollment if he’s undecided by then.
It’s going to be a wild few days.
In an effort to clear some things up about Jefferson’s situation, we caught up with him in a phone interview from San Antonio. He’s playing in the U.S. Army All-America Bowl, which will be televised at 1 p.m. Saturday by NBC. Here’s the Q&A:
UGA didn’t really emerge as a serious contender with you until about a week before you committed to the Bulldogs last August. Why did you pick UGA? “I just love Coach Richt and Coach Ball, and those guys. Seeing how they run the program, and seeing how they use guys in that offense. I know they have a lot of guys go in and make plays for them, and I want to be one of those guys. That’s why I chose Georgia.”
During the 2013 season, your father coached on the same Tennessee Titans staff as Tracy Rocker, who is now UGA’s defensive line coach. How much of a factor did their relationship play into you picking the Bulldogs? “That’s a big factor because they are real close with each other. That’s someone down there (Rocker) to have to look out for me. It gives my mom more of a comfort level. Talking to them, and having Coach Rocker, now I have someone there that I’m pretty close with. So it’s great.”
How does Mike Bobo’s departure as offensive coordinator affect your commitment to UGA? “He was my primary recruiter. But I know one of his goals was to be a head coach. So I don’t blame him for leaving for a head coaching job. I know he’s going to do great things over there. As of now, (Bobo’s departure) doesn’t affect my decision. I just want to see who they hire as an offensive coordinator. But as of now, it doesn’t affect my commitment.”
You took an official visit to Ole Miss last month, but you had that set up before the Colorado State job even opened up, correct? “Yes sir.”
What made you want to visit Ole Miss? “I’ve always liked Ole Miss. I wanted to go there and see Coach Freeze, Coach Heard, and Coach Harris. You know, I liked it a lot when I was down there. Those guys are great guys. I can’t wait to see what they’re talking about. But you know, it was all good.”
The prized QB recruit for Ole Miss, Chad Kelly, got into some legal trouble and his future with the Rebels is unknown at this point. How does that affect how you feel about Ole Miss? “Everybody is going to have their troubles, so that really didn’t affect how I feel about Ole Miss. That didn’t really matter. Everybody gets in trouble, and stuff happens. But that didn’t play a part in how I feel.”
So you’ve said it’s 50/50 between UGA and Ole Miss? “Yes, sir. My mom loves Ole Miss, and my dad loves Georgia. So it’s kind of like 50/50. But at the end of the day, they told me to make the best decision for me. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to pray about the situation and see where God leads me.”
What does your mom love about Ole Miss? “My mom just likes Coach Freeze, and how he runs their program. And how he goes about his stuff. My dad loves Georgia because Coach Rocker is there. He likes Coach Richt and how he runs the program. There some things my dad likes about Georgia, and some things my mom doesn’t like about Georgia. There’s some things my dad likes about Ole Miss and some things that he doesn’t. So it’s 50/50 with them. But at the end of the day, I make my own decision.
Who is recruiting you from UGA since Bobo left? “Coach Rocker and Coach Ball”
What has Richt told you about bringing in a new offensive coordinator? “He hasn’t told me anything so I don’t know who they are going to hire. Whomever they hire, it’s going to be a good dude. So I can’t wait to see him, and hopefully meet him soon.”
Are you still enrolling early in college? “We don’t know yet. I’m still thinking about that. Honestly, I have to make that decision soon, so I will let you know. To enroll at UGA, I would have to decide by this week, because school at Georgia starts next week. It starts on Jan. 5. I have to decide by this week if I’m going to enroll or not. So I will make a quick decision.”
That’s a lot of pressure over the next few days, isn’t it? “No, I’m just praying about the situation. There’s no pressure. I just pray about it, and let God lead me in the right direction.”
What does UGA have to do to keep you? “I’ve always loved Georgia, and I’ve always been a big Bulldog fan. The attraction is always going to be there for me with Georgia. I’m really not worried about it. Like I said, I’m going to let God lead me in the right place. We’ll see what happens.”