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Returning Player Refresher: Cam Jefferies

Jefferies can thwart passing attacks with extreme efficiency and bring down ball carriers just about as well as anybody.

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

Cam Jefferies didn’t start his collegiate football career at the University of Cincinnati but he will finish it there. The former Bowling Green defensive back will be back for his second and final year for the Bearcats this fall and considering how well he performed last year, the end of his UC journey will be one to remember.

Before he transferred from Bowling Green, Jefferies had already begun to show his skill at defending wide receivers and limiting opposing passing attacks. In 2017, he tallied six passes defended and also had an interception as he got his first extended look with the Falcons.

What he did with the Falcons isn’t what you’re hear to read about, of course, so let’s dive into his work with the Bearcats. UC’s secondary didn’t need Jefferies to be a standout cornerback but that didn’t stop him from doing just that in 2018. The skills he developed at Bowling Green shone through to an exceptional degree, especially when it came to making plays on the ball. Although he only had a single interception, the amount of times he kept passes from becoming receptions was astounding. He led the team in passes defended (12) and pass breakups (11). Interceptions may end up on the highlight reels more often but consistently keeping the ball out of an opposing receivers’ hands is the whole job, no matter what it takes to make that happen. Jefferies clearly has the ability to do that and do it frequently which makes him an ideal fit at cornerback for the Bearcats’ defense.

To use a baseball analogy, Jefferies isn’t just a center fielder running after fly balls. He could easily shift over to safety with his ability to bring down ball carriers, especially with the flashes he showed in creating chaos in the backfield. Returning to his time with Bowling Green in 2017, Jefferies collected 36 tackles, including one for loss and 28 solo efforts. Such tackling prowess made him an even more attractive transfer addition for the Bearcats and his skills did not diminish once he put on the red and black. Jefferies secured 34 total tackles last season and he did not need help on 25 of those stops. Among those tackles, four pushed opponents back for negative yards. With that quartet of tackles for loss, Jefferies led all players in the UC secondary and that made him a defender who defenses had to be worried about no matter what play they called.

With a combination of seniority and proven experience on his side, Jefferies should easily be able to replicate if not surpass his production from last season. His stellar 2018 campaign occurred despite the fact that he started in nine of 13 games. With a full-time starting role certainly within reach if not guaranteed at this point, he’ll have far more chances to impact games. If it all comes together as we expect, that will make for quite the finale.