In a cycle that isn’t very deep at the Defensive Tackle position, Clemson managed to snag an underrated prospect out of Covington, Georgia. At 6’3, 280 pounds Jeffries’ recruitment blew up in the spring, amassing an impressive offer sheet. Ultimately though, Jeffries chose Clemson over both Alabama and Georgia in June.
From a personality standpoint, Darnell is a perfect fit for Clemson, and if you follow his social media pages you’ll often see him rave about the program. From a scheme standpoint, he’s also a great potential fit. Jefferies is quick off the ball and great athlete for his size. He will likely play as either a 3 or 5 tech at the next level.
Darnell Jeffries spoils a QB run attempt. Titans with the ball in the redzone pic.twitter.com/FihQJ5PTmu— COVNEWS Sports (@CovNewsSports) August 17, 2017
Jefferies is still developing as a player, however, and will need to work on a few things before he can be a force on Clemson’s defense. He will need about 10 more pounds of weight, and occasionally struggles with leverage. He’s got all of the tools to be a beast, but Clemson will need to hone his skills.
Since he is still developing, recruiting services have Jefferies as a 3-star player, with 24/7 rating him as the 542nd best player in the country. I believe this rating is way too low, and think that Jeffries is a top 300 type player. Darnell has a lot of potential, and Clemson coaches were smart to move on him so early.
In a weak DT class Jefferies provides a lot of upside for a class with few dominant DTs at the position. Darnell blew up over the summer with offers from all the major regional powers, including a lot of interest and attention from Alabama.
In high school Jefferies played a hybrid LB role in a 3-4 scheme, operating decently in space. This didn’t aid his development as a DT, but does show his athleticism for his size. He carries 280 pounds very well and shows quick feet and plus athleticism for a lineman. There is a lot to work with here. Jefferies carries his weight really well at this point.
Darnell is still a developmental prospect overall, however, and will require some time to develop in college. He needs to learn to play with his hand in the ground and play with better leverage consistently. I would like to see a bit more lower body mass as well. He is a definite 3-tech in my book, and will benefit from a BV scheme that allows him to penetrate and slash into the backfield. Another quality locker room influence. Outstanding citizen and leader at his high school.
That said, as Tommy pointed out, the 542nd composite player is very low. He wasn’t the kind of dominant force in games you want to see and he didn’t have the kind of senior year to vault him into elite prospect status, but I think he should be knocking on the door of the 250 range.