As Jonathan Jefferson made his way to the stage at the Douglas County High theater for a National Signing Day photo op, Tigers coach Johnny White presented him with another accolade for his decorated career.
Jefferson, a senior defensive end, was chosen by the county coaches and select media as the Howard Thompson Trophy winner.
The award is given annually to the county’s most outstanding player.
It was the fourth straight year that it has gone to a defensive player and third time in the last four years that a Douglas County High player has been picked.
“He is very deserving of this,” White said. “I know it isn’t a career award, but if you look at what he has done over the last four years, it is no question that he was one of the top players in the county.”
New Manchester senior Horatio Fields came in second in the voting and Wesley Smith of Alexander was third.
Jefferson said winning the award is special because of the past recipients.
“To have your name mentioned with some of the great players that have come through this county is special,” Jefferson said.
The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Jefferson can add his name to the list.
In helping the Tigers to a 7-4 record and state playoff berth, Jefferson had 70 tackles, including 17 tackles for loss and 11 sacks.
He is the No. 13 ranked prospect in the state and signed with the Georgia Bulldogs where he is an early enrollee.
“I’m looking forward getting to Georgia,” Jefferson said. “Georgia has a good program. I’m happy about the opportunity to play there since I’m from Georgia.”
For his career, Jefferson finished with 254 tackles and 41 sacks. He was also a member of the school’s basketball team where he was a part-time starter the last two seasons.
Last basketball season, Jefferson averaged 6.1 points and 3.7 rebounds as the team finished as region runner-up and reached the second round of the state playoffs.
“Jonathan has an opportunity to be really good on the next level,” White said. “He works extremely hard. I have no complaints about him during the four years he has been in our program. He has tremendous potential.”