Monday, June 3, 2013
How Shawn Jefferson found football
By Paul Kuharsky
Shawn Jefferson was something to behold on Friday.
At the Tennessee Titans' first OTA session open to the media, their new receivers coach sprinted and shouted as he encouraged his charges.
It was a dynamic, high-energy performance and I was told he’ll go far further once the team gets to training camp -- at least periodically, he'll put pads on.
Jefferson’s route to a 13-year career NFL career as a player has some interesting roots.
Per David Boclair of the Nashville City Paper, Jefferson crossed paths Friday with the man who was, in many ways, responsible for getting it all started.
Rick Stockstill, now coach of Middle Tennessee State, was responsible for convincing Jefferson to play football in high school in Jacksonville and recruited him to Central Florida.
But Stockstill nearly lost Jefferson to Liberty right at the end of his recruitment.
The rules prohibited a recruiter from contacting a kid before 8 a.m. When Jefferson left Stockstill a message saying he was going to go to Liberty instead of Central Florida, the coach drove to Jefferson’s house and slept in his car in Jefferson’s driveway so as to see him first thing in the morning.
That prompted Jefferson to stick with his initial commitment. Stockstill's act has carried over in a big way into Jefferson’s life and work.
“That simple act that he did by sleeping at my house," Jefferson said. "He didn’t take no for an answer. To this day, with me coaching those guys I don’t take no for an answer because I know how not taking no for an answer can actually change lives.”