Georgia has 16 early enrollees from the 2021 signing class already on campus. It's by far the highest number under head coach Kirby Smart since players were allowed to sign early starting in 2017.
One of those 16 is Douglas County, Ga., product Jonathan Jefferson. Jefferson is 6-foot-3, 285 pounds and will most likely be filling a defensive end role during his time at Georgia.
Jefferson fits the physical description to play defensive end in Georgia's odd-front scheme. He's almost identical in height and weight to former defensive end and two-year starter Malik Herring.
It's an unsung position at Georgia. Georgia's defensive ends won't lead the team in sacks, they likely won't lead the team in tackles for loss or any statistical category. However, during Smart's tenure, the starting defensive end has been one of the leaders of the defense in playing time.
So, what does Jonathan Jefferson bring to the table?
Frame: Thick lower half with long arms. Carries most of his weight from the hips down, with a big rear end. If any weight is to be added, it’s in his chest and arms.
Athleticism: Athletic enough to play wide receiver and tight end along with power forward for the basketball team at Douglas County. He has a quick first step and recovered from a knee injury in 2018 to become an equal version of himself. Shows an ability to get flat down the line of scrimmage and pursue the ball-carrier.
Instincts: Knows when big plays need to be made during critical moments of the game. He gets his hands into the throwing lanes of the quarterback on quick throws. He knows how to use his hands during pass-rushing opportunities.
Polish: Plays in and out of "the gas" at times, meaning he will seem like just another guy for a couple of plays only to completely take the game over for the next several. If the conditioning level remains taken care of, look out. He sheds blocks well and wins his 1-on-1 battles more times than not.
Bottom Line: A better 3-4 defensive end for Smart’s system at Georgia couldn't be created than Jefferson. At his size, he will be able to hold down the fort at the 4I spot at Georgia, then kick into the 3-technique whenever they move to a nickel formation on third downs.
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