Florida senior defensive end/outside linebacker Cece Jefferson is expected to be out a few months after undergoing shoulder surgery earlier this week, a source close to the program confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday.
The Gainesville Sun first reported Jefferson’s surgery, with a source telling the newspaper that it was a “significant” procedure. According to the Sun, Jefferson could be out a minimum of four months.
A source told ESPN that Jefferson is expected to return at some point during the Gators’ fall camp in August.
Jefferson injured his shoulder during the Gators’ spring game on Saturday.
Jefferson arrived at Florida as a five-star prospect and the nation’s No. 2 defensive end in the 2015 class. He considered leaving early for the NFL after last season but opted to return to the Gators for his senior year.
In three seasons at Florida, Jefferson has registered 28.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. He led the Gators in both categories last year (13.5 TFLs, 4.5 sacks).
With Florida utilizing a 3-4 scheme under new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, Jefferson had lined up as the Gators’ edge rusher this spring.
If Jefferson’s injury sidelines him for the early part of the 2018 season, the Gators likely will turn to junior defensive linemen Jabari Zuniga and Jachai Polite, who have combined for 25.5 TFLs and 13 sacks over the past two seasons, to help out on the outside. Junior Antonneous Clayton and redshirt freshman Zachary Carter also could get reps at Jefferson’s position.