MESQUITE -- Linebacker Malik Jefferson of Mesquite Poteet High School is busy working out, getting ready to report to football next month.

'I'm ready for it,' Jefferson said during a training session. 'I'm ready to lead my team to, hopefully, a state championship. It's all a mental thing, and you have to have leaders to do that.'

Last week, he was in Oregon for a not-so-typical workout as part of Nike's new summer showcase for high school kids.

He was one of 162 athletes invited to participate. In the testing phase of the event - which included a shuttle run, a vertical jump, a power ball toss, and the 40-yard dash - Jefferson finished second.

'I'm pretty sure a lot of people knew who I was, but I'm going to do great things when I go to college, because I'm planning for it now,' Jefferson said. 'I'm working hard for it now, and that's most important.'

As he enters his senior season, Jefferson has been contacted by lots of colleges; so many, in fact, that he says the exact number is a secret.

He's got plenty of time to decide, but it's obvious that the experience that he got in Oregon last week will only increase the interest in him as a football player.

'He said he learned so much and he grew so much that he immediately called me the next day and said, 'Coach, this was the best time of my life,' and that's what I wish for any kid,' said Mesquite Poteet head coach Kody Groves.

Jefferson is listed at 6-foot-2, 218 pounds. He remains uncommitted, and is considered by some to be the top recruit in North Texas.

He dazzled those on hand in Oregon when he ran a personal-best 4.39 in the 40. When the TV cameras were rolling, he ran a 4.55 and 4.49.

'That's my fastest time ever, since I've been working on my starts the last three weeks,' Jefferson said. 'I just ran a 4.39.'

And that's a time most athletes only dream about.


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