By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
An innocent scouting report came out Tuesday afternoon, as they often do this time of year, spewing out the latest notes and rumors about potential prospects entering this April’s NFL Draft.
But unlike the bland tidbits that commonly fill these hollow posts, this WalterFootball.com report had an interesting note about former OU safety Tony Jefferson. And it caused a brief stir across the interwebs.
The report claimed, through anonymous NFL scouts, that OU coaches have been bashing their former safety for his practice habits and lack of work ethic during his time in Norman.
Another safety prospect that is trending in the opposite direction is Oklahoma safety Tony Jefferson. Scouts are saying that Jefferson has been getting trashed by some of his former coaches for horrible practice habits and a lack of work ethic in the weight room. Jefferson has a lot of physical talent, but it is really going to hurt his draft stock to have former coaches telling NFL teams to pass on him. A couple sources said they wouldn’t be surprised if Jefferson has a free fall in the draft from a second-day pick to the third day. It will be really important for Jefferson to test well and interview well at the Combine.
There’s some obvious question to the validity of the report, especially considering the anonymous sourcing. And this is the same site that, in December, said Trey Millard was going to declare for the NFL Draft (he announced his return to OU earlier this month).
But what made this allegation all the more intriguing is Jefferson’s immediate response through Twitter. He didn’t seem to question or deny that it might have been true, but rather disappointed it would happen.
Take a look at the reactionary timeline:
Even Kenny Stills seemed to take offense to it
Some speculated it may have been secondary coach Willie Martinez, but this interaction leads you to believe Jefferson thinks otherwise
Jefferson ended the mini-rant with this statement, further hinting toward his opinion to the validity of the report
In the short term, this is likely a brief road bump for Jefferson. If he interviews well and impresses at the combine, his stock will rise. If he doesn’t, then it won’t. Just like any other prospect.
He’s already shown an ability to perform under the lights. During his three years at OU, Jefferson was a consistent force on defense, one of the rare (recent) Sooners who could be counted on every Saturday. And he was pleasant and genuine enough during my brief interactions with him.
Does he practice well? Is he lazy? I don’t know. I can’t speak to that.
But if you ask me, OU comes out looking worse in this WalterFootball report. Coaches bashing former players after they’ve left the program, potentially hindering their professional prospects. That doesn’t look good to the outside world, particularly recruits.
And it’s just another minor blow to a program that’s suffered a major hit during this rough month of January.
The Cotton Bowl blowout was bad enough. Top that off with Mike Stoops’ Manziel comments, some outspoken former players, the continued recruiting struggles and now this Jefferson story? February can’t come soon enough in Norman.