During an otherwise difficult night for his team, Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson introduced himself to college football fans with a stellar debut in last week’s 38-3 loss to Notre Dame. Jefferson, a true freshman who enrolled in January, recorded nine tackles and 2.5 tackles for losses while earning praise from coach Charlie Strong.
It marked Jefferson’s debut at middle linebacker after playing outside linebacker during his high school career at Mesquite Poteet. Although he would have preferred a “better outcome” on the scoreboard, Jefferson said the game did not seem as fast to him as Texas’ spring game, where he also made an impact.
“With time comes patience. I was able to adjust,” Jefferson said. “I wanted to have fun and make plays. I couldn’t make every play but I was trying my best. I was trying to go 100 percent on every play.”
In the estimation of Texas coaches, Jefferson hit that goal and will be asked to repeat it in Saturday’s home game against Rice (7 p.m., Longhorn Network). Jefferson said he has talked to other young defenders about rebounding mentally from the lopsided loss to Notre Dame.
“I told them to keep their heads up because we’ve got a long way to go,” Jefferson said. “Just focus and get ready for the next game. … I’m not used to getting scored on. As a defensive player, I know not to give up touchdowns.”