Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson warms up prior to the Longhorns game against Texas Tech at AT&T Jones Stadium in Lubbock Saturday November 5, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

BEVO BEAT Football

Is there a future NFL star on the Longhorns’ defense? NFL.com says yes

Posted June 21st, 2017

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Texas’ defense was not great last season. Anyone who watched the Longhorns in 2016 knows this. Texas fired its defensive coordinator mid-season, struggled to stop the run, struggled in the redzone –  it wasn’t great.

But that doesn’t mean Texas didn’t have NFL prospects on defense.

Lots has been made of Malik Jefferson’s sophomore slump, but no one is selling his NFL stock, including a writer at the NFL’s own website.

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The junior-to-be linebacker is listed as one of the 17 future stars on defense. NFL writer Chase Goodbread, says of Jefferson: “The Longhorns have the most promising defensive player in the Big 12 in Jefferson, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound cornerstone for new coach Tom Herman’s first defense at UT.”

On national signing day earlier this year, Texas coach Tom Herman refused to say whether Jefferson would be a starter on defense, giving a cliché line about how no one is penciled in as a starter, but it’s safe to say that Jefferson is likely going to be starting for the Longhorns next season.

Goodbread isn’t the only writer high on the former 5-star recruit. Most way-too-early mock drafts have Jefferson going within in the top 15 picks of next season’s draft. Of course, he has to declare first, as Jefferson is only a junior.

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