North Pike (Miss.) junior A.J. Jefferson has been patiently waiting to don the shoulder pads and football helmet again. And the wait is nearly over for the 6-foot-3 and 225-pound defensive end prospect.
"We start spring ball in a few days and I've been ready for a long time," said Jefferson, who had 144 tackles last year with 19 sacks and also forced six fumbles. "I am ready to see what we need to improve on as a team and see what I can do to help the team more. We had a good season last year but nothing is guaranteed. So we have to work even harder to do better than last year.
"I expect to play on both sides again this year at defensive end and then tight end and fullback on offense. I love doing all of that and I just want to help the team wherever I can."
Jefferson currently owns offers from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Louisiana-Lafayette and Memphis. And noted he stays in regular contact with all of those schools.
"Things are going great with all of those schools," said Jefferson. "They are also supposed to be coming to check me out this spring and I look forward to that. Things are going real good with Mississippi State and they want me back on campus soon. I went to their junior day and they said they want me back for summer camp so I can get a good feel of the campus."
Since taking that trek to attend the Bulldogs' junior day, Jefferson said his travel plans have been light.
"I haven't taken any trips lately and I am just going to wait until the summer to see some of these schools," said Jefferson. "I know I am going to Mississippi State and Ole Miss and then I am going to a one-day camp at Southern Miss. I am also going to ULL and then try to make it to Memphis."
And with his recruitment, Jefferson noted he is taking a slow approach and a wait-and-see attitude.
"I am just taking my time and there is no need to rush anything," Jefferson said. "I am treating all the schools the same. I don't know when I may commit but it won't be any time soon.
"I am looking at a chance to earn early playing time, coaching styles and what kind of program at team has and whether or not they will be winning in the future. And right now, I am leaning towards staying in the state for college."