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Coming Full Circle

With the Wildcats, Jefferson teaches what he knows - the quarterbacks. (FOX 8 Graphic) With the Wildcats, Jefferson teaches what he knows - the quarterbacks. (FOX 8 Graphic)
(WVUE) -

Sometimes you just know that home is where you need to be.

"This place means a lot,” said Jordan Jefferson. “It gave me opportunities to move forward with my playing career."

And now Jefferson is back at his alma mater, Destrehan High School, for some more career guidance. You see, Jefferson is at a crossroads. He would be the first to tell you that his playing career still has some life, even though his opportunities to play again have pretty much dried up.

Coaching is not where the former LSU starting quarterback saw himself five years ago. Not even one year ago, when he was still chasing his NFL dream after getting a tryout with the Saints. But the reality is, coaching just might be the closest Jefferson ever comes to being involved in the game again.

"It's definitely hard as a player because I'm still in shape,” he said. “I feel like I can play, and just playing football all those years it's hard to just close that chapter, but just coaching keeps me around the game. Football is a sport that I love, and being around it, coaching it, if I can't play it will be the best option for me."

"He needs to do that,” said Steve Robichaux. “We know we're getting him in on the ground floor, and we know that he won't be with us long. He's that type of person. He will get his opportunity to go elsewhere."

But, while he's here, for as long as he's here, Wildcat head coach Robichaux will tap into Jefferson's experience as both a high-level signal caller and a high-profile athlete whose every move while at LSU was watched and scrutinized. And if you ask him about it, Jefferson might admit that he brought a lot of his problems on himself.

"Absolutely, you have to be able to adjust to adversity and accept it for what it is,” Jefferson said. “I looked at it, I looked in my challenges, and I responded to them by moving forward and not letting it affect me."

Jefferson's problems were as much off the field as they were on it. Run-ins with Baton Rouge police led to multiple arrests and a suspension from the football team, which was just fine for many tiger fans who had been calling for a change at the position for weeks.

Problem was, back-up Jarrett Lee was no improvement. In fact, it was Jefferson who saved the day by relieving Lee late in the famed “game of the century” that matched the tigers against Alabama.

"We had two big turnovers - that was very costly - and our backs were against the wall,” he said. But Les Miles looked me in the eye and asked me to take over the game and help us be victorious."

Jefferson carried the Tigers to the 9-6 win.

However, one month later in the national championship game, Jefferson and the Tigers got out-classed, shut out 21-0.

"I think Alabama was prepared for us, for sure,” Jefferson said. “They knew that our strengths were to beat them on the outside and get the edge, so once we got into the game, a security ads. We had an SEC championship a play for. And they had a month to prepare for us."

It would be Jefferson’s final collegiate game and the last time that LSU would play for a national championship

That was nearly four years ago. Jefferson’s future in football took a major hit during the summer of 2011. It's why he believes, four years later, coming back to Destrehan is a blessing.

And Jordan insists that the person he was then is not the man that he is today.

Coming back to Destrehan meant coming back to where it all began where he felt most comfortable, most at home, most welcomed.

With the Wildcats, Jefferson teaches what he knows - the quarterbacks. And he makes a point to get across to his players what he's learned the hard way over the years.

“[The students] understand the cases and the scenarios of high-profile college football players because it happens to the biggest names: Jordan Jefferson, Jameis Winston, Johnny Football. It happens to everybody, so they understand now. I explained my adversity to them. I let them know what I went through,” Jefferson said.

In other words, Jefferson has been honest about his missteps. It's his attempt to cut them off from going down a similar path, and so far, it's working. Out here, Jefferson looks the part of a coach, even though his shy demeanor may say otherwise.

"You know, football is not everything,” Robichaux said. “We tell our kids that all around. There's only a few select make it. Only a few Ed Reeds in this world. You've got to have something to fall back on, and I tell you Jordan has that. That great character kid, tremendous person, I tell you what. It might not be playing football, but he will be in football in some capacity and he will do quite well."

“I wish I could have a do-over, and at the end of the day I understand that everything happens for reason,” Jefferson said. “And God has a plan for my life and me moving forward.” 

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