Football

Jefferson to the Bengals

Malik Jefferson. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Malik Jefferson. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Via UT release

MESQUITE — Linebacker Malik Jefferson was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 78th overall pick in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft on Friday at AT&T Stadium. He becomes the first Longhorn linebacker since Jordan Hicks was a third-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015. He is the highest linebacker selected in the draft since Derrick Johnson was a first-round pick in 2005 by the Kansas City Chiefs.

“Malik is a guy who not only has all of the skill and athletic ability you’re looking for in a great linebacker, but he’s a tremendous leader,” head coach Tom Herman said. “Cincinnati got both a great player and an unbelievable person who will be a star on the field and a pillar of the community. I’m so happy for him and his family and really excited to watch him continue to grow and develop as a player.”

A native of Mesquite, Texas, Jefferson played in 33 career games and made 30 starts in three seasons. He totaled 233 tackles with 25.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. He had 15 quarterback hurries, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

As a junior in 2017, Jefferson was named Big 12 Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year and first team All-Big 12. He was also a second team All-American and a semifinalist for both the Butkus Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy. He played in and started all 12 games before missing the bowl game with an injury.

Jefferson led the team with 110 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and four sacks. He had six QB hurries. Jefferson led the team in tackles in nine different games. He became the first Longhorn since 2014 to eclipse the 100-tackle mark and totaled double-digit tackles in six different contests.

As a sophomore in 2016, Jefferson played in 11 games with nine starts. He was third on the team with 62 tackles and totaled 8.5 tackles for loss with 5.5 sacks. As a freshman, he also played in 11 games with nine starts. He finished second on the team with 61 tackles, was fourth with seven tackles for loss, while adding 2.5 sacks, three pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery which he returned for a touchdown. He was selected freshman All-America by the Football Writers Association of America, Sporting New and USA Today.

Longhorn NFL Draft Notables

*Texas has had 338 players selected in its draft history, 11th-most in college football history.

*There have been 44 UT players selected in the first round. Three (Tommy Nobis, 1966; Earl Campbell, 1978; and Kenneth Sims, 1982) have been selected first overall.

*The Longhorns set an NFL record when at least one player was taken in 76 consecutive drafts (1938-2013).

*Texas holds the record for most players taken in a single draft, with 17 going in 1984.

*Connor Williams is the first Longhorn offensive lineman drafted since Tony Hills in 2008.

*Williams is the first Longhorn drafted by the Dallas Cowboys since Geoff Swaim in the seventh round of the 2015 draft.

*Malik Jefferson is the first Longhorn linebacker selected since Jordan Hicks in 2015. He is the highest linebacker selected since Derrick Johnson in 2005.

*Jefferson is the first Longhorn drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals since Jordan Shipley in the third round of the 2010 draft