Could Florida WR Van Jefferson follow father’s route to Patriots?

Andy Hart
February 25, 2020 - 4:01 pm
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INDIANAPOLIS -- One of the best route-running prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft class just so happens to be the son of a former Patriots wide receiver.

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Shawn Jefferson spent four seasons in New England from 1996-99, catching 178 passes for more than 3,000 yards with 14 touchdowns.

Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson arrived at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine this week with a reputation as one of the best route runners in college football, a skill that he very much acknowledges can be directly tied to growing up the son of an NFL pass catcher.

“My dad was really hard on me growing up. He pushed me a lot,” Jefferson said. “Pushed me to be the best I can be. It got me here. Growing up as a kid, you don’t see it at that moment but now that you get older you kind of see the things that he taught you and you see the things that he told you, trying to tell you so that you’d be ready for this moment. Me and my dad bumped head sometimes, but that’s just father-son. But everything he taught me has led me to this moment, so I can’t thank him enough.”

The 6-2, 197-pound younger Jefferson caught 175 passes for 2,159 yards with 16 touchdowns over four college seasons split between Ole Miss and the Gators. He also opened a lot of eyes at the Senior Bowl, where he was voted by his South squad teammates as the best receiver.

Beyond just his father’s impact, Jefferson praises Florida co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales for is development.

“I credit my dad and Coach Gonzales. Those two guys really helped my game out a lot,” Jefferson said. “My dad, growing up, I can remember countless times me and my dad going to the indoor (facility) wherever team he was at just running routes. Having me drop down when I’m running full speed, drop down and comeback. It’s like muscle memory to me now. I can do it in my sleep. I have to credit my dad. Then when I got to Florida Coach Gonzales just seasoned my game and just put more tools in my toolbox. So I credit those two guys for my success.”

Clearly the Patriots are a team that puts a premium on route running. They also happen to be a team that could be in the market for additional talent at the wide receiver position.

While Shawn Jefferson, who’s now a wide receivers coach for the Jets, opened his NFL career in San Diego before moving on to New England, Atlanta and Detroit over 13 seasons, Van Jefferson sounds intrigued by the idea of being a Patriot from Day 1.

“To play with a team my dad played for and if Tom Brady comes back play with him. And play with N’Keal Harry and Julian Edelman. That would be great,” Jefferson said, admitting that he met with New England at the Senior Bowl. “And like you said, my dad played for them. So playing for a team like that would make it that much better.”

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