Longhorn lineman follows his father

Jeffcoat's dad starred for the Cowboys, helping them win two Super Bowls

Jim Jeffcoat didn't want his son to play football until high school.

As a former NFL defensive lineman, Jeffcoat knew the pounding football puts on a body. As a coach, he didn't want his boy getting poor instruction early in his career.

"I had to beg him to let me play in sixth grade," Jackson Jeffcoat recalled. "I had to convince him."

Jim Jeffcoat relented, but he wasn't willing to be an overbearing football parent.

"I had to ask him for advice, he wanted it all to be natural," Jackson Jeffcoat said. "When I wanted to learn from him, I had to go and ask and he was willing to show me different moves and watch film with me. I watched his film as well. He was fast and aggressive and I strived to be like him."

The 6-foot-5, 250-pound senior defensive end from Texas has turned out a lot like his father.

Jim Jeffcoat was an all-Pac-10 and all-American defensive end who had 20 sacks at Arizona State. His son was a consensus All-American and the Big 12 defensive player of the year with 26.5 career sacks, including 12 this year heading into the Alamo Bowl against Oregon on Dec. 30.

Jim Jeffcoat was a first-round pick in 1983 by the Dallas Cowboys, and he helped win two Super Bowls during the first 12 seasons of a 15-year NFL career. Jackson Jeffcoat is projected as an early-round NFL draft pick in May.

Jeffcoat could have jumped to the NFL last season, but decided to return after he ruptured a pectoral muscle.

"I was definitely tempted," he said. "I started off pretty fast last year and it was in the back of my mind. I am glad I came back. It was better for me and I graduated in three and a half years, so that was big for me."

Jeffcoat has 80 tackles this season, making him the only defensive lineman in the country to lead his team in that category and the first at Texas to do so in 19 years. His 12 sacks rank third in the country and are tied for the most at Texas in 29 seasons.

"They try to find ways to use his abilities the best they can," Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota said. "They've got a special player and he's going to make plays. He is a force. We expect them to do what they can to put him in the best position to make them successful."

Jeffcoat began preparing for this season as soon as his junior year came to an early end.

"It turned out well," he said. "I have to give credit to our rehab and training staff. They have been there for I needed them. I got my strength back and worked my butt off because I knew this was an important year for me. It has been fun to rack up some awards as well."

Jeffcoat said he is also more prepared for the NFL now.

"I've grown in my football intelligence," he said. "I've become a smarter football player, I'm stronger, worked hard in summer conditioning to make sure I am in the best shape I can be in."

Jeffcoat got an early scouting report on the Ducks from his father, who is the defensive line coach at Colorado.

"Obviously, he had to prepare for Oregon as well, so he gave me some pointers," Jackson Jeffcoat said.

"They have an athletic offensive line, and Mariota is very athletic and throws the ball well. They have a bunch of backs that can run, so we have to swarm the ball all game long."


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