Cam Jefferson anchors UNLV offensive line

Posted: September 21, 2013 in NCAAF
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

By W.G. Ramirez

While starring for Desert Oasis High School, offensive lineman Cam Jefferson was sought after by two schools: UNR and Northern Arizona.

He played in the annual showcase game for high school seniors, and as he puts it, all his all-star teammates had 10 offers on the table compared to his two.

“I couldn’t stand Reno, I didn’t like the city at all,” Jefferson said. “Reno was my first offer, then NAU came along.”

Jefferson v AFA by IIA

UNLV junior Cam Jefferson has started 23 straight games on the offensive line, where he’s played every position besides center for the Rebels.

Thankfully for him, he adds, UNLV coach Bobby Hauck replaced Mike Sanford, and then he came along after NAU.

“Thanks to Bobby and them, they came at the last second and scooped me right up,” Jefferson said. “I love the coaches really.”

And despite having less wins in his college career than he did as a junior for Desert Oasis, he couldn’t be any happier as a Rebel.

“It’s been up and down, but my main goal for me personally was to get better from day one,” said the 6-foot-6, 300-pound junior, who has played every position on the offensive line besides center for the Rebels and has started 23 consecutive games dating back to 2011. “Just ’cause I wasn’t born here, I still rep Vegas to the fullest. Vegas is really dear to my heart, ’cause this is where I grew up.

“This is where my family is, this is where my great friends are here, I take pride in it. Wherever we go … I’m reppin’ Vegas and UNLV to the fullest.”

Jefferson was born in Cleveland, where his father, William, played for the NFL’s Browns (1989-90). After his father’s professional career ended, the Jeffersons relocated and Cam was raised in Southwest Las Vegas, where he attended Sierra Vista High School as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to Desert Oasis. He was more of a basketball player, and didn’t set foot on a football field until his junior year, when he earned all-Southwest Region honors for the Diamondbacks.

He credits his father for the switch from the hardwood to the gridiron.

“My Dad is my biggest inspiration, as far as football,” Jefferson said. “He’s the main reason I wanted to play football my junior year. He would always tell me about football. He’s been through it all, and all I can do is try to follow in his footsteps and be even greater than he was.

“My Pops always told me, football – even in most sports – is mostly mental. It’s probably about, from what my Pops says, 90 percent mental. If your mental isn’t right in anything you do, especially sports, you can’t accomplish anything. Your mind has to be set.”

It’s the kind of positive attitude and motivation Hauck relishes in having on his football team.

“If we could get a hundred of that guy, we’d take ’em,” Hauck said. “He’s such a quality guy, he’s a team guy. He’s a really solid player on the offensive line, he’s a captain on the football team as a junior. He’s just a wonderful guy.

“(And) they’re great people around town. They’ve been good, not just for their own son, but for a lot of our kids who are here from out of town. They have ’em over for dinner and they look out for them and they’re just a great family.”

More than anything, for Hauck and the Rebels, Jefferson is a reliable anchor on an offensive line that finally came to life last Saturday against Central Michigan, opening holes for running back Tim Cornett, and protecting quarterback Caleb Herring in a 31-21 win. The Rebels will look to even their record at 2-2, not to mention match their season-win total the past three seasons, tonight against Western Illinois at Sam Boyd Stadium.

And to keep that offense moving tonight against the Leathernecks, Hauck said it starts and ends with “a nameless group of five that makes the whole thing go:” the offensive line.

“How they go, our offense goes,” the fourth-year coach said. “All those guys that make the big plays and get their names up in lights and get talked about, they can’t do anything without the big fellas; they all acknowledge that in the locker room, and Cam is an important piece of that group.”

Though Jefferson doesn’t hesitate to agree, saying “it always starts in the trenches,” he also takes pride when his skill-position teammates make the headline plays.

“When we see guys like Vante (Devante Davis), Caleb, Tim, Nick Sherry, Anthony Williams – when they get explosive runs, explosive big plays – we know it started up front. If we don’t block for them, they couldn’t make those big plays. At the same time, if they don’t make those big plays, what we did was would be for nothing almost. It would be on us.”

With another year ahead of him, Hauck has the benefit of possibly molding a future NFL lineman, something Jefferson would love to do, following in his father’s footsteps.

“That’s my main goal, at the end of it all,” said Jefferson, a Psychology major. “Get my degree, be one of the greatest at UNLV and go off to be in the NFL.”

  1. Tina Rice says:

    Love Cam Jefferson and his entire family!!!!

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