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Eastlake grad Tony Jefferson defies odds to earn NFL roster spot Trent Warren | Mon, Sep 23 2013 03:42 PM

In high school, Tony Jefferson was a Division I CIF champion, a 2009 USA Today All-American selection, four-star recruit by Rivals.com and listed as the No. 4 cornerback prospect in the class of 2010.

In college, he was named 2010 Freshman All-American by College Football News and The Sporting News, Big 12 Conference Co-Defensive Freshman of the Year, a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2012 and was named AP All-American in 2012.

Jefferson was also projected to be drafted during the mid rounds in the 2013 NFL Draft. However, he didn’t hear his name called and went undrafted.

It is not completely clear why Jefferson went undrafted. Some claim he doesn’t have the ideal height for a strong safety to play at the next level. Others believe his tackling technique is poor and think he wouldn’t be durable enough to play in the NFL.

Despite all the naysayers, Jefferson continued to follow his dream of becoming a professional football player.

After the draft he would sign as an undrafted free agent for the Arizona Cardinals and play in their preseason games with hopes to make their final roster.

It would take a remarkable preseason and a little bit of luck but Jefferson would survive the final cut. His stellar performance in preseason play would occur in a game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Jefferson recorded five tackles, along with two interceptions in the game and instantly was highlighted as a rookie to watch.

Such a performance wouldn’t go unrecognized and he was rewarded with a roster spot.

Jefferson is currently listed as the second string strong safety on the team; he started his first NFL regular season game on Sunday against the Detroit Lions. In the game, a 25-21 Arizona win, he recorded three solo tackles.

Among all of the doubters, the non-believers and the critics, there were also the fans, the friends, the coaches, and family alongside him supporting him the entire way.

Once upon a time, Jefferson was an Eastlake Titan tearing it up on the field under the Friday night lights.

Now he will be playing on Sundays, living the dream as a professional football player.

Star watch

Bonita Vista Middle School grad and now Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is 2-0 through the first two weeks of the NFL season.

On Sunday, Smith and the Chiefs squeaked by with a win against the Dallas Cowboys, 17-16, as Smith threw for two touchdowns and 223 passing yards. Smith also added 57 rushing yards on eight carries.

Smith has thrown for four touchdowns with no interceptions and has a 94.7 quarterback rating through two games in the 2013 NFL season.

Also through week 2 of the new NFL season, coach John Fox (Castle Park High School alumnus) and his Denver Broncos are 2-0 and are tied with the Chiefs at the top of the AFC West Division.

The Broncos are coming off a 41-23 victory in the “Manning Bowl,” a game played between both Manning brothers, Eli (New York Giants) and Peyton (Denver).

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