South Carolina Linebacker Damario Jeffery

Damario Jeffery

South Carolina Linebacker Damario Jeffery

NFL Draft Series by PFC Blogger Chris Brown (@cbreezy2411)

As part of the NFL Draft Series on ProFootballCentral, we take a look at South Carolina Linebacker Damario Jeffery. If your not familiar with him yet, it’s about time to do so! Jeffery played multiple linebacker positions at South Carolina and has great athletic ability and physicality. He was selected to the Under Armour All American Game coming out of the high school, but couldn’t participate due to an injury he suffered during his senior year. Jeffery was a highly touted prospect who received offers from major schools such as USC, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and North Carolina. Being from the state of South Carolina, Jeffery chose to stay within the state and pursue his dreams.

CB: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today Damario, If you could just elaborate on your background for us.

DJ: Well I grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, I attended Columbia High School. During my time in Columbia I was rated one of the top players in the nation. I was rated the seventh best athlete by Rivals.com while I was in high school. Because of my play on the field I had the honors of being named an All-American. From high school I decided to take my talents to South Carolina and play for a National Championship.

CB: Being you were a highly touted player in high school, what made you choose South Carolina over other school?

DJ: Well during my recruiting process I was able to meet other Gamecock prospects as well. During this time we all began to talk about teaming together and having a great freshman class. We would talk about trying to bring a championship to South Carolina and one way to do that would be to build a strong class. I was able to team up with the likes of Stephon Gilmore (Buffalo Bills Cornerback) and start our college careers. We always talked about trying to do something no other class had done at South Carolina and that was to win a national championship. All in all we wanted to be the ones who made a difference, thus why I chose to attend South Carolina.

CB: Playing in arguably the best conference in college football, do you feel that gives you an advantage over some prospects being that you are playing the higher caliber talent?

DJ: A football player is a football player no matter what, doesn’t matter where they play. It doesn’t put me above anyone, it just mean I have to earn it even more. People who play football know it’s what you make of it. If you put in effort then you’ll have more of a chance to succeed. Being able to play at South Carolina allowed me to showcase my talents a little more than others because of the national spotlight of the SEC. The majority of games are nationally televised so it allows for more exposure but you still have to go out and perform. It may help get my name out more but I still need to put in work and live up to it.

CB: How do you transition to multiple positions on the field, i.e. switching from linebacker positions and also what do you feel you do well, what can you improve?

DJ: Well throughout my college career I played all the positions at the linebacker spot. I prefer to play the strong side linebacker position though. I am used to playing coverage on defense; it’s something I’m comfortable doing. Whether it’s covering a tight end or a running back out of the back field. My physicality allows me to overpower those positions on the field. One thing that I’m currently working on right now to improve on is my leverage. At times I don’t play with great leverage. This is something I’m focusing on right now in my training. I’ve been doing band work to help stay low on my positioning. This kind of training allows me to develop the habit of staying low at all times. When your body begins to rise up on defense that means fatigue is starting to set in. I’m trying to eliminate this fatigue with conditioning myself to fight through adversity and getting the mind right, getting focused mentally.

CB: Do you have a role model or someone your look up to that is in the NFL now?

DJ: Although people from South Carolina might hate this because he is from Georgia, but I would have to say, Thomas Davis who plays for the Carolina Panthers.

CB: Who would you compare yourself to in your style of play on the field?

DJ: I don’t like to focus on just one person, I like to think I can be versatile and am a
combination of different players but if I had to choose one, I would say Lavonte David from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

CB: What was the best part about playing college football?

DJ: That’s easy, the brotherhood. Just being able to hang out with the guys and establish great relationships with all the other players. I enjoyed walking and talking with the guys and just being a “True Team”. A lot of people lose the aspect of being a team and that’s something that we always cherished and took very seriously.

CB: Thank you Damario for taking the time to talk with ProFootballCentral today and we look forward to the next part of the series with you.

EJ: Alright that sounds great, thank you!

For all those interested, be sure to check and follow Damario on twitter, his handle is @BIGDIRTDAWG. Please be sure to check back for more interviews with Damario as well as more NFL hopefuls on ProFootballCentral.