Florida sophomore defensive lineman CeCe Jefferson already is living up to his recruiting hype and earning hometown praise.
Jefferson was a five-star prospect from Glen St. Mary (Fla.) Baker County in the 2015 recruiting class; he was considered a top-10 prospect nationally and a top-five defensive lineman in the class.
Jefferson committed to the Florida on National Signing Day 2015, choosing Florida over Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Ole Miss, among others. But he didn't sign on NSD, instead waiting a few days.
Jefferson did not disappoint, registering 8.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks as a true freshman.
"CeCe is a very smart football player; he wanted to learn more about the game of football," Tom MacPherson, who coached Jefferson in high school, told GN. "He was mature beyond his age. He wanted to learn the craft before he got to college."
Jefferson’s success did not come as a surprise to MacPherson, who saw those talents long before Jefferson arrived in Gainesville.
"With his athletic ability and his God-given talent, he’s able to make mistakes and recover from them at an SEC level," MacPherson said. "CeCe can make a mistake and still make up for it."
MacPherson, now the coach of Orange Park (Fla.) High, has been coaching high school football for the past 20 years and had high praise when asked about Jefferson.
"He is the best player I have ever coached by far," MacPherson said. "He is in the top five of players I have seen at the high school level, which includes Tim Tebow and Laremy Tunsil."
MacPherson said he always will have fond memories of coaching Jefferson.
"CeCe was not only a great player but a smart player," he said. "He was a lot of fun to coach."
Jefferson begins his sophomore season September 3 when Florida welcomes in Massachusetts. Jefferson is expected to play both end and tackle for the Gators this season; big seasons are expected from Jefferson and junior tackle Caleb Brantley.
(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreenGN)
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