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Season in Review: Cam Jefferies

In his first season as a Bearcat, the Bowling Green transfer used his previous experience to help lead the secondary.

NCAA Football: Tulane at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Numbers

  • 34 tackles
  • 4.0 tackles for loss
  • 12 passes defended
  • 11 pass breakups
  • 2 fumble recoveries
  • 1 interception

Cam Jefferies was a newcomer to the Cincinnati Bearcats football program in 2018. That didn’t mean he had no experience playing college football, however. The Painesville, Ohio native had already put in two seasons at Bowling Green before joining the Bearcats last summer. In those two years with the Falcons, Jefferies racked up 54 tackles, eight passes defended and one interception in 17 games. With such experience and proven production, he was able to hit the ground running with the Bearcats. He made his first start of the year in the second game against Miami-Ohio and went on to start in nine total contests as a defensive back. Even when he didn’t start, he still played a key role on the team, appearing in all 13 contests.

Just appearing in games wouldn’t be enough to keep his spot on the depth chart, but Jefferies’ production at corner back kept earning him more and more chances. He proved to be one of the best cover guys in the secondary, especially when it came to anticipating where passes would be in order to knock them down. He led the Bearcats in both passes defended (12) and pass breakups (11) and ranked sixth in the American Athletic Conference in both categories. His natural ability for making plays on the ball also led to a few turnovers, as he caught an interception and recovered two fumbles.

Something that really separated Jefferies from the rest of his secondary mates was his tackling ability. He led all UC corner backs with 34 tackles and even made some inroads in terms of creating pressure on opposing backfields (4.0 tackles for loss). Such a versatile skill set could lead to a positional change for Jefferies in the same way guys like Tyrell Gilbert and Malik Clements have taken on new roles in the last few seasons.

The Best of the Best

Oct. 6 vs. Tulane

Jefferies did a little bit of everything against the Green Wave, securing three tackles, including one for loss, as well as a pass defense and a fumble recovery.

Oct. 27 at SMU

With five solo tackles, including one for loss, and another pass defense, Jefferies helped the Bearcats limit SMU’s passing attack.

Nov. 23 vs. East Carolina

Playing your best near the end of the season is always commendable. With three tackles, two passes defended, an interception and a fumble recovery, Jefferies did just that.

Dec. 31 vs. Virginia Tech

Jefferies never got to play in a bowl for Bowling Green, making the 2018 Military Bowl his first postseason experience. He set a season-high with seven tackles and also had two passes defended in the Bearcats’ win against Virginia Tech.

For Next Year

Jefferies would be the logical choice to replace Tyrell Gilbert as a primary starting corner back. He already has tons of starting experience and a level of production that proves he can succeed. Whether Luke Fickell and Marcus Freeman decide to try him out at another spot remains to be seen, but continuing to defend the pass and make key tackles will make sure Jefferies gets on the field frequently.