For a long while, I
wondered if it wouldn’t be better for Rickey Jefferson to pull on a different
jersey in college than his big brother, no matter what other colors he wore.
Just not purple-and-gold. For his sake and for his family’s sake.
For a long time, it
seemed like a no-win situation for a kid brother to follow in the footsteps of
an LSU quarterback who, at least in my time covering the Tigers, has easily been
the most polarizing figure on the football field.
You know what, though?
Rickey Jefferson turned it around with me with one unexpected – at least the
timing of it – announcement on Sunday.
To Rickey Jefferson’s
credit, and to his family, including big brother Jordan, this recruitment didn’t
play out in the media or on message boards. It was quiet, understated and
almost imperceptible on the radar.
As big names from around
the state and around the country jumped on board with LSU’s 2013 recruiting
class, some with splashy methods and dramatic declarations, Jefferson and his
family quietly weighed options and stayed in touch with who they needed to.
The hope now is that
LSU fans are as gracious with this young man and his family as he has been
during the recruiting process.
I’ll quickly go to my
stock line here: I absolutely love the passion of LSU fans. It’s what makes
covering the Tigers so exhilarating and unique. Most of the time and by most of
the fans, that passion is funneled in the absolute right direction.
Once in a while, there
are a few vocal renegades – a very small minority – who loses grasp of reality
for a bit and turned a little ugly.
|Rickey Jefferson: Deserves a chance to carve his own LSU niche.|
deserves his shot. He deserves to come to LSU, carve his own niche and
establish however he can be a contributing member of one of the country’s top
Whether Rickey Jefferson
winds up as a cornerback or receiver, he’s going to have the chance to shine
the next few years. Whether he does or not, though, there need not be any
shadows to climb out of, expectations to steer clear of or standards to be
Did I always agree with
the way his big brother handled things after the bar fight incident? No, I did
Same goes for some of
the stuff he said after the BCS National Championship Game loss, particularly
the radio interview when he deflected blame everywhere but inward.
But I also don’t think
Jordan Jefferson is a bad person at his core. Not by a long shot.
For the most part, he
was always a quiet kid who handled himself well with the brightest an hottest
of spotlights glaring on him. He carried himself with a confidence – which you
want your quarterback to have – and showed the ability to pick himself up off
the ground in very tough circumstances.
There were exceptions
with Jordan Jefferson, of course, and understandably some of those stick in
people’s minds. I get that.
Rickey Jefferson is a
different person, though, and a different player. He deserves a chance to carve
his own spot in LSU football history, whether it’s a dramatic splash or he
winds up being just another face.
He took the first step,
in my mind, by handling his recruitment with class and inconspicuously – not playing
it out, one program against another.
Turns out I’m looking
forward to the newest Jefferson after all.