UCF QB KJ Jefferson explains viral photo of Shedeur Sanders in locker: 'It just gives you that edge'

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LAS VEGAS — UCF quarterback KJ Jefferson has been the talk of Big 12 Media Days after a photo of some personal motivation went viral this week. The photo depicts Jefferson’s locker, in which hangs a picture of Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders with a quote from Skip Bayless saying “he’s not just the best QB in the Big 12 Conference, but he’s the best QB in the country.” 

Sanders was selected by the media as the preseason All-Big 12 quarterback in his first year as a Big 12 quarterback. 

“I was just looking for some in-house motivation to make sure that I’m having a competitive edge and making sure that I’m going into each situation, each day, each practice, each film study, each OTA with a competitive edge and the chip on my shoulder,” Jefferson told CBS Sports. “It just gives you that edge, that fire to make sure that you don’t take anything for granted.” 

Sanders has been one of the biggest stories in college football over the last year, buoyed by his famous head coach and father, Deion Sanders. Five of the 15 most-watched regular season games in college football last season featured Colorado, even during a 4-8 season. Sanders threw for 3,230 yards with 27 touchdowns and only three interceptions. 

At Big 12 Media Days, the Colorado participants have been surrounded by its documentary camera crew, an unprecedented dynamic for the conference. 

While Jefferson puts a target on Sanders’ back, it’s a major sign of respect for Sanders, who excelled in his first season at Colorado. Jefferson’s teammates view Sanders as the standard. 

“It’s just to motivate [Jefferson] to go harder,” UCF wide receiver Kobe Hudson told CBS Sports. “Shedeur’s a dog for sure. We’re going to see him [this year] and it’ll be a blessing.”

Jefferson ranks among the most accomplished players in college football heading into 2024. The former Razorbacks quarterback boasts nearly 10,000 total yards and 88 touchdowns. In 2021, Jefferson led Arkansas to nine wins, its best performance in a decade. 

After five years, he opted to join UCF in its second year as a Big 12 member. Knights coach Gus Malzahn is coming off his first losing season as a college coach in 2023 after losing the Gasparilla Bowl.

“It means a lot for a quarterback like that to come to UCF, to look at us and just say, I want to play with these guys,” Hudson said. “It’s a blessing for him to come. It just motivates me even more to go harder for my quarterback because he believed in me.” 

UCF hosts Colorado on Sept. 28 in one of the Knights’ most high-profile home games since joining the Big 12. 

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