Scouting Report: Malik Jefferson, OLB, Texas

Mesquite, Texas | 6016 | 240 | 4.52E | 2019

A high instinct player who darts to the football and can cover ground nearly as fast as he can scan it. His read and react skills are put to strong use on the edge, as he shows great patience dissecting the play, then makes quick decisions—usually the right ones. Occasionally he will get caught over-pursuing and will get too deep into the backfield. Another point of emphasis has been coaching him up to play with a lower pad level. He arrived in Austin as a highly-recruited player and started from the moment he stepped foot on campus. His sense of entitlement resulted in then head coach Charlie Strong benching him against Baylor in October of 2015. The previous week he had spent much of the second half against Kansas State on the sidelines. “I thought everything would be handed to me,” he said in November of 2016 reflecting back on it. “I had to realize you have to work for things.” He was moved to outside linebacker during spring of 2017 by new coach Tom Herman, who wants him to be more aggressive and physical in the new role. However, his sideline-to-sideline coverage ability makes him best suited as an inside backer in the NFL.

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2016: Played in 11 games and made nine starts … picked up starts against Notre Dame, UTEP, Cal, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas State, Texas Tech and West Virginia … was third on the team with 62 tackles (42 solo) … made 8.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks … also had three pass breakups, three quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.

2015: Played in 11 games, starting nine, missing the Baylor game due to injury and was limited in two others … selected freshman All-America by the Football Writers Association of America, Sporting News and USA Today … also chosen to ESPN.com’s True Freshman All-America team … named honorable mention All-Big 12 and Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year … finished second on the team in tackles (61), led it in pressures (six) and was fourth in TFL (seven), while adding 2.5 sacks, three PBU, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, which he returned for a TD.

High School/Personal: Coached by Kody Groves at Mesquite Poteet High School … an All-America and two-time all-state honoree … invited to participate in Nike’s 2014 The Opening … chosen as the 2014 High School Butkus Award winner as the nation’s top high school linebacker …despite missing more than two games due to injury, along with three other second halves where the starters were removed, still recorded 81 tackles, including six sacks and 16 tackles for loss, along with two forced fumbles and four blocked kicks as a senior … helped Poteet to a 10-2 record, including a 7-0 district mark and an appearance in the 5A Division 2 area playoffs in 2014 … recorded 93 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries as a junior … helped Poteet to a 12-2 record … tallied 105 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, seven sacks, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, five pass breakups and four blocked kicks as a sophomore … helped Poteet to a 11-3 record … registered 105 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, seven sacks, five forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries as a sophomore … also played baseball and competed in track and field.