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July 28, 2011North Pike defensive end A.J. Jefferson has not received tons of attention outside of Mississippi but he has been recognized as one of the best in the Magnolia State being named to the Clarion Ledger's Dandy Dozen list.
"It feels good, man," Jefferson said at the Dandy Dozen photo shoot in Jackson on Wednesday. "All this hard work is finally starting to pay off."
Much of the hard work is just starting though, Jefferson said.
After camping at both Ole Miss and Mississippi State last weekend, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive end is focused on getting his high school season started, as August is just around the corner.
"We're starting to crank it up," he said. "We're looking good."
Last year as a junior, Jefferson totaled 144 tackles, including 19 sacks and six forced fumbles.
Jefferson had previously told Rivals.com that he wanted to make a decision on where he would attend college by the end of the summer or at the very beginning of school in August.
On Wednesday, however, he said he now plans to wait until after his high school season is done so that he can focus on playing football in the present, not the future.
Jefferson has stated his desire to stay in Mississippi and play close to his family, meaning Ole Miss and MSU are in the lead for his services.
When asked which of the rivals stood out, he replied simply, "Both of them."
On the Rebels, he said, "They're close to home and they got a nice campus and I like Coach [David] Lee and Coach [Houston] Nutt.
As for what stands out with the Bulldogs, he said it's the "same thing - the coaches and it's close to home."