We saw from junior Van Jefferson Saturday what we watched a lot of in the spring and fall after he transferred to Florida from Ole Miss. Jefferson made a couple of big plays in Saturday’s 41-14 win over Florida State that could merit SportsCenter Top 10 status later in the evening, but one move he made on a young Florida State safety left the young man in his wake and was a big reminder of what we’ve seen from him since the start of spring.
It isn’t like he has been invisible this year. Jefferson was leading the team in yards receptions and touchdowns coming into the year. He now has 31 receptions and six touchdowns after his four catches for 92 yards and a touchdown performance in Tallahassee.
Jefferson had one of his two big time okays near the end of the first quarter. On a 2nd & 6 at the Florida 43 yard line, Feleipe Franks through a low trajectory pass over the middle of the field and Jefferson made a diving catch on a play that went 39 yards. Jefferson landed on the ball and had the air knocked out of him, but was able to maintain possession on a really tough play.
The catch showed the hands we saw from Jefferson in the preseason and something we have seen from him for most of this season.
But then there was the touchdown catch. And it wasn’t really the catch that was the big part of it, it was the fact he made a rival look really, really bad. From the FSU 38-yard line, Jefferson lined up in the middle of a three-receiver set on the right side of the formation. Running along the hash, he ran right at the safety on the hash and dipped to the inside to cut in front of the safety who started to head that way only to see Jefferson cut back and straight up field. The safety was on the ground looking as Jefferson caught the ball at the five and walked into the end zone without a defender within 20 yards of him.
Van Jefferson just took that poor DBs soul pic.twitter.com/wAsLF5nIaf
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) November 24, 2018
Jefferson said he knew when the defense lined up that something good was about to happen. Even though the route didn’t go quite as planned.
“When they called the play I knew I had it, I was going to score,” he told the media after the game. “It was me and the safety one-on-one. I was supposed to bend in but he was too far inside so I just double moved him and went over the top of him. The play really was, I was supposed to go inside and cross his face but I couldn’t get inside because he was too tucked underneath. I just gave him a double move and Feleipe threw the perfect ball.”
Funny enough, Jefferson was a little slow getting to the sideline to see co-offensive coordinator and receiver coach Billy Gonzales because of his ad-lib on the play.
“When I came back to the sideline, I thought I was going to get in trouble with coach but coach was happy,” Jefferson laughed. “He said ‘good job taking it over the top’.”
The Seminole safety knew he had been had.
“We talked… like the next drive (and he was like) ‘man I gotta get you back for that’. I don’t even know him. It was just a good play.”
Jefferson is ecstatic to be a part of a quick rebuild at Florida and on a team that is headed for a bowl game after he missed one a year ago with Ole Miss on probation.