Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks expect ex-warehouse worker to do heavy lifting on defensive line

Seahawks draftee Quinton Jefferson, 23, says that working in a warehouse gave him motivation for football.
Seahawks draftee Quinton Jefferson, 23, says that working in a warehouse gave him motivation for football. The Associated Press

Alabama … Ohio State … Notre Dame … Texas A&M … Texas Christian.

And Woodland Hills High School?

Technically, the Seahawks’ fifth-round draft choice, Quinton Jefferson, comes from the University of Maryland. After a trade with New England, Seattle selected the defensive tackle with the 147th overall pick Saturday.

Unlike in some years when Seattle has uncovered small-school gems, the team has mined some of the best college programs in the country for its 2016 NFL draft haul.

And one of the nation’s top high school teams.

Jefferson played at Woodland Hills High School in Pittsburgh under longtime coach George Novak. The school has produced nearly 100 NCAA Division I recruits in its 25-year history, and has as many former players in the NFL as any prep program.

Its biggest NFL star right now is New England tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Jefferson grew up waving the “Terrible Towels” as a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, especially in February 2006 when they upended the Seahawks for the Super Bowl title.

“I don’t think I’ll be waving that anymore,” Jefferson said.

Jefferson, 23, finished his junior season at Maryland as an all-Big Ten honorable mention selection. The 6-foot-4, 291-pounder had 12  1/2 tackles for loss in 12 games, including 6  1/2 sacks.

“He is a man,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said.

Jefferson said his biggest strength is his versatility. He played both inside and out on the edge on the Terrapins defensive line.

“I am very disruptive inside with the run and the pass,” Jefferson said. “I can really get after it on third downs, kick inside on sub packages and rush the passer. That’s a premium in this league right now.”

He has one of the more interesting paths to the NFL, too.

Jefferson was a top college recruit coming out of Pittsburgh in 2011 when he signed with Maryland.

But his enrollment was delayed a year after he had his jaw broken in a fight.

“It was a very humbling time period, because I would have loved to be playing” Jefferson said. “I (was) watching guys I came in with playing.”

Instead, he took a job at a Best Buy warehouse, stacking boxes of inventory.

“I said I don’t want to be working at this warehouse,” Jefferson said. “I want to do something with my life … and it definitely gave me more motivation.”

In his third season in 2014, Jefferson suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third game.

With his football career parked, Jefferson spent more time on his personal life. He was a recent newlywed to Nadia Jackson. And their twin daughters, Charleigh and Quinn, had just been born.

“It was a lot,” he said. “I was at a turning point where a lot of guys would have just folded up. I have always been a driven person, and I didn’t let that get in my way.”

And as of Saturday, the husband and father of three children — he has a 5-year-old daughter, Zoey, from a previous relationship — is a member of the NFL.

“Everything I do is for them (and) my wife,” Jefferson said. “I want them to have a good life. I want to be that role model for them.”