Oklahoma football: Biggest shock of undrafted Sooners — defensive back Tony Jefferson

None was more shocking than that of undrafted safety Tony Jefferson — once considered the second coming of Roy Williams — who signed a free-agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals after the draft ended Saturday.
by Jason Kersey Published: April 28, 2013

Many of the more intriguing storylines from this weekend's NFL Draft involved former Oklahoma players.

Lane Johnson's meteoric rise, Landry Jones' baffling fall and the continued chances taken on oft-suspended Stacy McGee are just a few of the interesting Oklahoma-related angles that emerged from the weekend.

Still, none was more shocking than that of undrafted safety Tony Jefferson — once considered the second coming of Roy Williams — who signed a free-agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals after the draft ended Saturday.

For lots of marginal NFL prospects, signing as an undrafted free agent is cause for celebration. Jefferson, though, never could've envisioned entering professional football like this. Only three years ago, Jefferson, ranked as the fourth-best safety nationally in his recruiting class, graduated high school early to participate in Oklahoma's spring practices and made an immediate impression.

Jefferson started nine games his true freshman season at nickelback, was named a first-team freshman All-American and the Big 12's Defensive Freshman of the Year.

His promising career arguably peaked during his sophomore year. Jefferson intercepted passes on three consecutive Ball State possessions in an early season rout, then picked off another pass a week later in the Sooners' 58-17 blowout of archrival Texas.

But it was that season when Jefferson began suffering a string of tough injuries. He played much of 2011 on a sprained knee. Then, in the second game of last season, he suffered a high-ankle sprain and struggled with it all year.

Jefferson seemed to reach the low point of his college career after Oklahoma's 50-49 shoot-out victory at West Virginia. The Mountaineers racked up a staggering 778 yards of total offense, and Jefferson frequently missed tackles, was out of position and got burned by West Virginia superstars Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.

“Horrible game by me,” Jefferson tweeted after the game. “You can start the bashing. I deserve it. Sorry y'all.”


by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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