Impressive at camp, Jefferson ready for game

Impressive at camp, Jefferson ready for game
August 7, 2013, 8:30 am
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Willie Jefferson signed with the Texans as an undrafted rookie free agent.

(USA Today Images)

Willie Jefferson has been turning heads since he arrived in Houston as an undrafted free agent at rookie camp.

The 6-6 outside linebacker from Stephen F. Austin has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2013 training camp and now he’s ready to show his stuff in a game.

“I’m looking real forward to it, getting to Minnesota, putting on my jersey, putting on my helmet, just strapping it up and going at it,” he said.

“Ever since I was a little kid, watching Super Bowls at the house, you always want to play in a real NFL game and I guess I get my shot.”

Jefferson’s road to his first NFL game is a winding one. A wide receiver at Baylor, he left the program after marijuana related off-the-field incidents. But he got a second chance and made the most of it at SFA, where he played defensive end and wreaked havoc on quarterbacks.

“Willie’s been good. Hasn’t missed a rep,” head coach Gary Kubiak said. “He’s kept up with what we’re doing. He’s kept up with (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano), so Willie’s got a tremendous opportunity to help this football team quickly. We’ll see how he does in the game.”

The Texans first game of the preseason is on Friday night at Minnesota. Jefferson will play on defense but will also get a chance to play special teams. That’s probably his best chance to make the 53-man roster.

“I’ma be real live, live-wire, ready to get that first lick in,” Jefferson said. “Ready to get that first tackle on the quarterback, tipped ball, everything. Everything’s just going to be 100 mph, just trying to get in and do my thing so I can slow it down.”

Jefferson will likely play quite a bit during that first game and might even get a chance to start. Starting outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus is still out with a hamstring and Brooks Reed just returned to practice after banging his knee.

With those two missing a considerable amount of time, Jefferson has gotten an opportunity to work with the first team during practices.

“It’s been a real privilege,” he said. “When a player goes down, it gives you an opportunity to show your skills and everything. When the players that did go down went down, I was just ready to hop in and show them what I can do.”