Rams WR Van Jefferson Quotes 4/24/20
COURTESY OF LOS ANGELES RAMS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
(On joining the Rams and being part of a team that has been successful offensively over the last few years)
"I'm excited. There was so much emotion today, being with my family, just waiting on that call. It was amazing that I got the call today from the Rams and I was so excited. I'm excited to come to an offense and just learn from the guys that have been there, get up under a veteran's wing and just try to learn the offense as quick as I can. I'm just excited to be there."
(On how much interaction he had with the Rams leading up to the draft and if he thought the Rams would draft him in the second round)
"The last interaction I had with them was at the combine actually. We had an informal meeting and I was meeting with the receiver coach and I kind of got a good feeling from him. I didn't think that they would be a team that was interested in me, but it's something that you just don't know. You just don't know what's going to happen, it's so unknown. That one phone call, it can be any team. So when I got the phone call today, I was so excited. Me and the receiver coach hit it off when we had our little informal meeting, so I was excited to get that call from them."
(On why he did not expect the Rams to draft him)
"Because with so many other teams that were reaching out. I didn't have a FaceTime meeting with them throughout the whole process, so I didn't know that there was interest. Like I said, when I got that phone call, man, I was so happy. I was so excited. I've never been to LA, so I'm excited to be there, excited to learn from guys like (WR) Cooper Kupp, (WR) Robert Woods and I can't wait to get out there."
(On what intangibles he learned from his dad, Jets Wide Receiver Coach and former NFL player Shawn Jefferson)
"Just hard work and dropping your weight, getting out of cuts – that's something that my dad has taught me ever since I was a little kid. I think that's something that I harp on. I take pride in my route running. I think that's something that he taught me, and just being an all-around receiver. Just doing everything that a receiver does and just being the best player you can be."
(On being considered a football technician and what it means to join the ranks of Kupp, Woods and QB Jared Goff)
"It means everything. Like I said, I want to learn from those guys, take in as much information as I can from them. They're some of the greats right now so I just want to learn from them, pick their brains and pick what they have out so I can implement that into my game. I'm going in learning from two great guys and I'm just going to go in, just do what I have to do, keep my head down, go hard, work, and let the results take care of themselves."
(On if it was daunting being in a deep wide receiver draft class)
"Like you said, it's a huge receiver class but I consider myself one of the top guys in this class. It’s a lot of great receivers that went before me. A lot of great receivers that got to hear their names called, but I'm just here to prove to me to be the best player that I can be. I'm excited to get the call from the Rams. It's been a life-long dream of mine to play in the NFL so I'm excited to be apart of the Rams, and I can't wait to get it going."
(On if it has sunk in to be a WR on Head Coach Sean McVay’s offense, when McVay is considered to be one of the brightest minds in the NFL)
“When they called me, I know I saw California, I just didn’t know who it was. I picked it up and it was the Rams and instantly, it clicked in my head, ‘Man, that offense goes.’ I know going in I’m going to be able to catch balls from (QB) Jared Goff and play alongside (WR) Cooper Kupp and (WR) Robert Woods. It’s just a great opportunity, a great situation that I’m going into. I’m just excited about it.”
(On if there was a point in his life growing up where he said, ‘I need to be my own man’ and how difficult that may have been with his dad being an NFL wide receiver)
“Yeah, I think I experienced that all throughout high school. Just being in my dad’s shadow and I never really got to get out on my own. So, I think now that I’m all the way away from him, he’s all the way in New York, I can get that spotlight and create my own name and not go under my dad’s. My dad’s been a great help to me, he’s helping me out tremendously. He has taught me a lot of things. So, I’m just ready to get to L.A. Learn from the coaches, learn from the players and just get better and try to do the best I can.”
(On if he has played on a team that has played against his dad’s team)
“No, I haven’t, I have not. So, that’ll be a first.”
(On if he had an issue at the combine and how that is going)
“Yes, they did the medical stuff on Monday and Tuesday. Then, I was preparing to run and stuff on that Wednesday, training with my facility that chose – a MJP. Started training and then that Wednesday a runner came and got me and said, ‘Hey, they want to push you down to the medical.’ So, I went down to the medical and they wanted to do an MRI and an X-Ray on my foot, so they went and did that. They found a Jones fracture in my foot and I had the surgery on March 5 and right now, I’m 90 percent healthy. I’m in a shoe right now, jogging in the AlterG. It’s going good.”
(On if he was worried about his injury at all during the draft)
“No, not so much. I just had the leave it in God’s hands. I was just praying, and I woke up early this morning, just praying to God, just asking him to show me his way and put his helping hand on me. Practice patience, everything happens for a reason. I really wasn’t too worried about because at the end of the day, it’s going to happen when it’s going to happen. It happened to be the Rams and I’m so excited and I couldn’t be more excited for this to happen.”
(On switching schools and how much that helped him as a WR)
“I think switching schools helped me out a lot. Ole Miss was a great school, a great coaching staff, but I just thought that it was in my best interest to leave. I feel like when I got to Florida, my game kind of excelled more. Being under (Florida University Head) Coach (Dan) Mullen and (Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers) Coach (Billy) Gonzales. I learned a lot of new things, a lot of different techniques. I think I kind of got way better being Florida. I’m glad I chose Florida, if I had to do it all over again, I would.”
(On the best thing he learned as a wide receiver at Florida)
“The best thing that I learned while being there with Coach Gonzales is playing with your hands. Getting the DB’s hands off you and that’s something that Coach ‘G’ (Gonzales) always harps on and always preaches. I think that’s something he taught me a lot and something that I use a lot now in my game. Just teamwork too, as well. I think we had a lot of receivers that we spread the ball around, so everybody’s not going to get the ball, so everybody was just practicing patience. That’s some of the things that I learned while I was there.”
(On how he balanced having his dad on the Jets coaching staff with doing his own preparation and not being able to get access to inside information that his dad would have)
“How the house is setup, my dad is in the garage and I’m in the living room, so we’re kind of in two different spaces. He will just come to me and tell me, ‘Don’t worry about it. Everything is going to work out the way it’s supposed to work out. Whatever happens, man, it happens for a reason. God put you in this place for a reason.’ Me and him talk all the time, but it’s never about an inside scoop or anything like that. It was just all about he’s just proud of me and proud of me for the man I’ve become, the player I’ve become and that’s pretty much it. I love my dad. My dad has been a helpful and a big influence to my life, so just excited that this moment has come and I’m ready to get to work.”
(On playing against RB Cam Akers in college and what kind of player he will become and how exciting he is to be his teammate)
“It’s very exciting. Like you said I played against him at Florida State. He’s an allusive back, he’s a great player. Man, I can’t wait to play with him. Like you said, playing against him at Florida State, it would be a lot of times he would just break out in huge runs. So, that always wasn’t good for being the opposing team, but I’m excited to be on the same side as a him, as teammates as him. Ready to get to work with him and it’s going to be good.”
(On being from the same area as CB Jalen Ramsey and if they already know each other)
“I don’t know him personally, but we kind of know each other through mutual people. So, I haven’t really kind of talked to him like personally. But, I know he is from Brentwood and he went to Brentwood Academy, and I was right down the street at Ravenwood, so seeing him and two Tennessee dudes on the same team is going to be fun.”
(On what he would describe as his strengths and what areas he needs to improve on as he enters the NFL)
“I think my strength is my route running. I feel like I can separate from anybody. I feel like I can get out of any break. I feel like I can break it down in anything, so I feel like that’s my strongest suits in my game. Some things that I need to work on, is probably my 50-50 balls. I feel like as I go back and look at my film throughout the season, there was a lot more plays I could’ve made, catching those 50-50 balls. So, that’s something that I need to work on if I want to have a great NFL career.”
(On how his family feels about him coming out to Los Angeles being that he’s never been there before)
“I mean they’re going to have to be fine with it (laughs). But my mom and my dad are supportive, my sisters and everybody. So, it’s going to be fun. I can’t wait to get out there. It’s going to be a good time. I can’t wait to learn from these guys. I can’t wait to learn from (QB) Jared Goff, and just get up under a veteran receiver’s wing and learn the most that I can.”
(On if he thinks the physicality of the SEC has prepared him for the NFL)
“Yeah, I think so. You’ll never get a feel for the NFL, without you being in the NFL. I feel like the closest thing to the NFL is the SEC. I feel like the SEC, it prepares a lot of players to come in and play. I feel like me learning from (Florida Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers) Coach (Billy) Gonzalez and me being up under (Florida University Head) Coach (Dan) Mullen, it kind of helped me out, just getting the terms of just sights, and when the corner blitzes, to sit down. I think just playing in the SEC and having the SEC coaches, that definitely helps you out.”