Troubled QB Jefferson still hopes to start for LSU
BATON ROUGE, La. — Jordan Jefferson says his goal remains to be LSU's starting quarterback and that he has learned a lot from his recent arrest and four-game suspension that stemmed from an August bar fight.
"My personal goal is to be the starter," said Jefferson, who was permitted by LSU to speak to reporters Monday night for the first time since the Aug. 19 fight. "I am going to do whatever it takes to get there."
Jefferson, a senior, was reinstated last Wednesday after a grand jury reduced his felony second-degree battery charge to a misdemeanor. He then played in last Saturday's home game against Kentucky, scoring a touchdown on a 1-yard, fourth-down sneak.
"I was positive I was going to play at LSU again," Jefferson said. "This was a tough experience for me. Sitting there watching the guys play all these tough games was the hardest thing I've done in my life. They did a great job.
"This was a learning experience for me. I can't imagine anybody in the country going through more than I did. But, I'm now wiser and more aware. God puts people in certain situations. I don't regret anything. Everything happened for a reason. I've learned a lot from this."
With Jefferson unavailable for LSU's first four games, fifth-year senior Jarrett Lee took over as starter and has helped lead the Tigers to a 5-0 start and No. 1 ranking.
Jefferson said he felt that his celebrity status was a factor in his arrest.
"You never know how popular you are until situations like this," he said. "I was just trying to go out and be a college student that night. I was enjoying myself with my teammates. A certain situation turned up. The position you play for the football team can cost you a lot and put you in trouble."
Jefferson said taking a redshirt this year, so he could have a full year of eligibility in 2012, crossed his mind. However, he decided against sitting out the season.
"I would have redshirted if I thought I'd miss seven or eight games. But, I only missed four games," he said. "There is a lot of time left in the season."
Jefferson said he is confident he can be productive for the Tigers, who host No. 17 Florida on Saturday afternoon.
"I don't feel like I'm behind," Jefferson said. "I've been working out a lot. I've been in the toughest battles there are. I have a 20-7 record which is very high for a quarterback at LSU. I've been leading LSU for three years. When coach (Les) Miles puts me in, I can help this team win."
Jefferson said he understands he made a poor decision on the night of the fight by remaining in the parking lot of Shady's bar, near campus, as the melee erupted.
"I have to accept responsibility for being there," Jefferson said. "I know I shouldn't have been there, but everything happens for a reason. I'm a lot wiser.
"I received a lot of support from different areas. Coach Miles and the team were behind me 100 percent when it was needed. When I get the opportunity to get back on the field, I'll do what it takes for us to win."