ROCKFORD, Ill. -- When Rockford College head football coach Vic Wallace announce his coaching staff last week, it included a mix of coaches with years of experience and knowledge of Coach Wallace's methods with young coached looking to get their careers started. One coach in the latter category comes to Rockford with an unusual background.
That coach is Jason Jefferson. Like most coaches, Jefferson has a tremendous past as a collegiate and high school football standout and is looking to learn and establish himself as a coach. The difference is how Jefferson came to Rockford College.
Rockford was selected by the National Football League (NFL) Players Association to be one of eight NCAA Division II and III schools to be assigned a former NFL player as a coaching intern. Jefferson, a Chicago, Illinois native and former All-Big Ten defensive lineman at Wisconsin, was sent to Rockford and will coach the Regents' defensive line.
"Coach Jefferson will be a tremendous addition to our coaching staff and institution," said Rockford's first year head coach Vic Wallace. "He brings not only an incredible knowledge of the game, but his experience at the highest levels of football can be an example to our student-athletes about the dedication needed to be successful on the field and in the classroom."
Jefferson was a sixth round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2005. His five year stint in the NFL included stops with the Buffalo Bills and the Atlanta Falcons. Jefferson also made stops with his hometown Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Before his time in the NFL, Jefferson played from 2000-04 for the University of Wisconsin and legendary Coach Barry Alvarez. During his junior and senior years, Jefferson started 25 of 27 games, recording 72 tackles and two sacks. He completed his bachelor's degree in Sociology in 2005.
"I think being at Rockford College will give me an excellent opportunity to grow as a coach, and educator," said Jefferson. "Though I have only been here a short time, Coach Wallace and the entire Regents family has made me feel very comfortable. I am very excited for the student-athletes to get to campus and get started. My family and I look forward to being part of the Rockford College and greater Rockford community."
The NFLPA Coaching Internship Program began in 2005 as an NFLPA and NFL Player Development Department initiative, in combination with the NCAA and American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). The program is designed to expose former NFL players to the inner workings of college football coaching and provided them a chance to network in the field, while building their coaching experience and knowledge. This year, Rockford was among the eight schools selected out of nearly 200 that applied. Other schools receiving NFL coaching interns are: Bowie State University, Chowan University, Frostburg State University, Lock Haven University, North Greenville University, Ouachita Baptist University, and West Virginia Wesleyan University.
Rockford is looking to rebuild after last year's 0-10 season. The Regents will open their 2011 campaign on September 3 when they travel to Fulton, Mo., to face the Westminster College Blue Jays. They will open their home schedule two weeks later when they welcome the MIAA's Alma College Scots to Sam Greeley Field.