Willie Hebert Jefferson III[1] (born January 31, 1991) is a Canadian football defensive end for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Jefferson is a two-time Grey Cup champion, winning his first ring at the 103rd Grey Cup with Edmonton in 2015 and then won the 107th Grey Cup when his Blue Bombers defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33-12. He was named the CFL's Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2019 with the Bombers, and is a three-time CFL and CFL West All-Star. Jefferson played college football at Stephen F. Austin University, he has also been a member of the Houston Texans, Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan Roughriders, and Washington Redskins.

Willie Jefferson
No. 5     Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Born: (1991-01-31) January 31, 1991 (age 28)
Beaumont, Texas
Career information
CFL statusInternational
Position(s)Defensive end
Height6 ft 7 in (201 cm)
Weight245 lb (111 kg)
CollegeStephen F. Austin
High schoolBeaumont (TX) Ozen
Career history
As player
(2013)Houston Texans
(2014)Buffalo Bills
(20142015)Edmonton Eskimos
(2016)*Washington Redskins
(20162018)Saskatchewan Roughriders
(2019–present)Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Career highlights and awards
Career stats
Tackles151
Sacks43
Interceptions3
Forced Fumbles12
Defensive Touchdowns3

Early yearsEdit

He attended Ozen High School. He was selected to the 4A all-state second-team in his senior year in high school.[2] He was selected to the First-team All-District 20-4 and Port Arthur News Super Team while at high school.[2]

College careerEdit

He started his career as a wide receiver at Baylor University but was kicked off of the team after he and teammate Josh Gordon were found asleep in Jefferson's car at a local Taco Bell with marijuana in the car. Jefferson, who was driving, was kicked off the team due to it being his second violation. He transferred to Stephen F Austin and was named 2011 Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year in his Junior season. He led the Southland Conference in sacks with 16.[2] He was selected to the Sports Network All-America second team, Phil Steele's Magazine All-America third team.[2]

Professional careerEdit

Houston TexansEdit

On April 27, 2013, he signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent following the 2013 NFL Draft.[3]

The Texans released Jefferson, along with two others players, on October 21 for unspecified violations of team rules prior to a game in Kansas City.[4]

Edmonton EskimosEdit

In 2014, Jefferson signed with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League (CFL).[5] Jefferson played for two seasons with the Eskimos, playing in 35 games, contributing 40 defensive tackles, 10 quarterback sacks, and three forced fumbles.

Washington RedskinsEdit

Jefferson signed a futures contract with the Washington Redskins on January 14, 2016.[6] On August 27, 2016, Jefferson was waived by the Redskins.[7]

Saskatchewan RoughridersEdit

In September 2016, Jefferson returned to the CFL and signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders rejoining his head coach from Edmonton.[8] Jefferson was named a CFL All-Star in 2017, and in 2018 was nominated as the teams Most Outstanding Player and Most Outstanding Defensive Player after recording his first season with double digit sacks, and a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns.[9] Jefferson was again named to the CFL All-Star Team alongside teammate Charleston Hughes.[10][11]

Winnipeg Blue BombersEdit

On February 12, 2019, it was announced that Jefferson had signed a one-year deal with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers through the 2019 season. Jefferson felt the Roughriders' offer did not match his market value; he was also courted by the Toronto Argonauts, but signed with the Blue Bombers for $210,000 CND.[12] Jefferson's most notable performance came against Edmonton, where he recorded four tackles (two for a loss), three sacks, two forced fumbles, recovered another fumble, knocked down two passes, recovered an onside kick attempt, and scored a rouge when he kicked a fumble through the endzone.[13]

By season's end, Jefferson played in all 18 games and made 24 tackles and caught an interception; he also set new career highs for sacks and forced fumbles, with 12 and 6 respectively, he also set the CFL record for a defensive lineman with 16 pass knockdowns.[14] Jefferson's strong play in the playoffs, together with his fellow defensive linemen Jackson Jeffcoat, Drake Nevis, and Jake Thomas saw the Bombers defence control the games against the Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders, to lead the Bombers to the 107th Grey Cup. In the championship game Jefferson had two tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, with a dominant performance that saw the Bombers end their 29 year Grey Cup drought. After the game he said that "I just had to come out here and give it my all. I had my dad, my mom, my wife and my daughter. I couldn't come out here and play a mediocre game in front of my family."[15] For the second consecutive year, Jefferson won the award for both Most Outstanding Player, and Defensive Player for his team, he ultimately won the CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award for his performance over the course of the 2019 CFL season.[16][17]

StatisticsEdit

CFLEdit

  Defence
Year Team Games Tackles ST Sacks Int TD FF
2013 EDM 17 17 0 4 0 0 0
2015 EDM 18 23 0 6 0 0 3
2016 SSK 5 8 0 3 0 0 1
2017 SSK 18 45 1 8 0 1 0
2018 SSK 18 34 0 10 2 2 2
2019 WPG 18 24 0 12 1 0 6
CFL totals 94 151 1 43 3 3 12

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Baylor Bears Profile". baylorbears.com.
  2. ^ a b c d "Stephen F. Austin Profile". sfajacks.cstv.com.
  3. ^ "Texans sign four draft picks, 23 undrafted free agents". nbcsports.com. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  4. ^ Ganguli, Tania (October 21, 2013). "Sources: Pot reason Texans cut 3". ESPN.com. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
  5. ^ "Edmonton Eskimos have their own no. 99 in Willie Jefferson". edmontonsun.com.
  6. ^ Smith, Michael (January 14, 2016). "Former Texans troublemaker Willie Jefferson lands in Washington". NBCSports.com. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  7. ^ "8/27:Redskins Make Roster Moves". Redskins.com.
  8. ^ "Willie Jefferson returns to the CFL wearing green, but not the shade of the double-E". Edmonton Journal. 2016-09-29. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  9. ^ "CFL announces 2018 team award winners - CFL.ca". CFL.ca. 2018-10-31. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  10. ^ https://www.cfl.ca/2018/11/07/star-power-2018-cfl-divisional-stars-announced/
  11. ^ "Stars aligned: 2018 CFL All-Stars unveiled". Canadian Football League. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  12. ^ Justin Dunk (August 27, 2019). "Willie Jefferson lowballed by Riders; took less choosing Bombers". Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  13. ^ Ted Wyman (August 24, 2019). "BOMBSHELLS: Bombers raving about dominant performance from defensive end Willie Jefferson". National Post. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  14. ^ "Bombers' Willie Jefferson named CFL's outstanding defensive player". Winnipeg Free Press. November 21, 2019.
  15. ^ Devin Heroux (November 25, 2019). "Drought over, pants on: Bombers deliver a Grey Cup win for the ages". CBC Sports.
  16. ^ Ted Wyman (November 22, 2019). "Bombers' Jefferson wins CFL's most outstanding defensive player award". National Post.
  17. ^ "CFL Announces 2019 Team Award Winners". CFL. October 30, 2019.

External linksEdit