After missing the 2006 football season and this past spring’s Blue-White game with an injured left shoulder, former Effingham County High School standout Lynon Jefferson is eager to be a starter for Georgia Southern.
“It’s a lot of competition here. I’ll have to work hard and play hard,” the senior wide receiver said. “It’s run and gunning. Everything is fast and fast-paced. I know it’s going to be a track meet when we come across Eagle Creek.”
Jefferson is currently in the mix to start at one of the four wide receiver positions.
Jefferson has needed two surgeries in consecutive years to fix a shoulder that popped out of socket when he moved his left arm.
Jefferson said he rehabs every day and that his shoulder is getting stronger each day.
New GSU coach Chris Hatcher is familiar with Jefferson. While Hatcher coached at Valdosta State, he recruited Jefferson. He anticipates Jefferson to be an asset to the team.
“He plays hard and he gets after it,” Hatcher said. “I remember I recruited him out of high school and I’m glad to get the opportunity to coach him and he’s glad to be back out there.”
Jefferson’s wide receiver coach Ron Dugans is impressed with his tenacity.
“He’s working hard and is getting stronger,” he said. “The thing he’s done that has impressed me is that he’s blocking a lot better, especially down field. That’s what you want when you’re running the football is a receiver who will block down field.”
As for seeing playing time at Paulson Stadium and on the road, Dugans said he foresees the Effingham native playing.
“When you got a guy who is as hungry as he is and he hasn’t played in a while, he wants to come out,” Dugans said. “The thing he has to do is know the assignments, know what to do and be where he’s supposed to be when the quarterback throws the ball.”
Dugans admires Jefferson’s selflessness.
“He’s not a selfish player. He’s a team player,” he said. “You never have to worry about him not being where he’s supposed to be.”
Hatcher is the third different coach Jefferson has played under in as many years. But Jefferson said there’s no time to worry about personnel changes.
“It’s hectic, but you just have to move on,” he said. “I’ve come into Hatcher’s program and will do what I have to do.”
With a new coach comes a new offensive system to learn and a new position for Jefferson. Hatch runs a spread passing attack opposed to the pro formation and option, employed by the previous two Eagle coaches.
Jefferson, who has moved from slot back to wide receiver, does not mind the change.
“It’s not that big of a difference,” he said. “I played all that in high school. I’m learning how to run routes.”
Jefferson likes Hatcher’s optimism and is ready to work hard.
“I really want us to get a national championship and Coach Hatcher has instilled in us that we got enough talent here to get a national championship,” Jefferson said. “I really want us to get a national championship.”
For the Eagles, Jefferson has played in 24 games. He has rushed for 649 yards and two touchdowns on 71 attempts, averaging 9.1 yards a carry. He also has caught 12 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown.
Jefferson and the Eagles kick off the season Sept. 8, hosting West Georgia at 6 p.m.