Jackson Jeffcoat ended his career on top, despite much adversity throughout his four years in Austin.
Jeffcoat is one of just five consensus All-American defensive ends in school history. He served as a captain in 2013 and was a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award given to the nation’s top defensive player each year. He also earned the 2013 Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year award and was a first-team All-Big 12 choice.
Jeffcoat’s stature at 6 feet 5 inches and 250 pounds makes him appealing to NFL scouts as he attempts to follow his father’s NFL footsteps — he is projected as second-day draft pick. Teams will examine his injury history closely in the evaluation process, but Jeffcoat is accustomed to overcoming adversity.
In 33 of his last 36 games, Jeffcoat had at least one tackle for a loss, and he had 12 sacks over his last 19 games. He was also the only FBS lineman in the 2013 season who led his team in tackles.
Those accolades create a great resume, but they did not come easy.
Jeffcoat appeared in eight games as a true freshman and was forced to sit out four of the team’s contests due to a nagging ankle injury. Despite the ankle issues, he posted 15 tackles, 2.5 sacks and six tackles for a loss.
His sophomore year was much more typical for the former top-overall national recruit. He collected 71 tackles, 21 for a loss. His eight sacks ranked him fifth in the Big 12, and he tied for third in the conference in tackles for loss. In the final game of the Lone Star Showdown, Jackson picked up five tackles, one tackle for a loss and ruptured his left pectoral muscle in a dramatic 27-25 victory over Texas A&M. After the Longhorn season concluded, Jeffcoat underwent surgery to correct the issue.
Health would still prove fleeting for Jeffcoat as he entered his junior season. Jeffcoat started the first six games of the year, amassing four sacks and 11 tackles for loss. His early season success ended at the Red River Rivalry when Jeffcoat suffered a season-ending right pectoral injury. Before the injury, draft experts predicted him as a first or second round draft pick. Despite the end to his junior campaign, he still finished the season as second on the team in tackles for loss
Despite numerous injuries to other teammates, Jeffcoat managed to remain healthy his senior season and started all 13 games. He ended the year with 86 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and 13 sacks.