Jeffrey M'ba's plan for 2023? 'Destroy people.'
The No. 1 JUCO prospect didn't play many snaps in 2022. But he's got a new number, a new staff, a new position and a new mindset.
With an energetic personality and a booming laugh, Jeffrey M’ba can light up any room he comes across.
And with a 6-foot-6, 307-pound frame and speed that he claims could post a 4.7-second mark in the 40, M’ba can light up any offensive player he comes across, too.
“I know it sounds crazy, but you're gonna see,” M’ba said.
“Crazy” is one of M’ba’s favorite English words. He used it several times Wednesday in his first sit-down interview since his arrival at Auburn. His journey to get to the Plains — from the African nation of Gabon to France to Independence, Kansas — is nothing short of crazy.
Teammates think he’s crazy, whether he’s cracking jokes in the facility or yelling French swear words whenever he gets upset on the practice field.
“I'm just trying to be myself,” M’ba said. “Eight years ago I was in Africa. Five years ago I was in France. And now I'm in the U.S., playing football in the SEC. So obviously I'm going to be happy every day and thankful for everything I've got.
“I feel like people always say I'm laughing. I'm trying to make everybody be happy and understand it's a struggle to be a football player. But we have so much to get from that. That's why I'm always happy and trying to hype people up — because if I don't do it, who's going to do it?”
M’ba was the No. 1 junior college player in the country during the 2022 recruiting cycle. As he explains it, his domination of the JUCO ranks happened purely because of his strength and speed.
M’ba committed to play at Auburn for Nick Eason, the highly touted defensive line coach. But Eason left for his alma mater of Clemson soon after M’ba’s signing, and he had to adjust to a brand-new position coach. And, in his first season at Auburn, the former top-tier recruit only played 82 snaps across nine games.
That’s also crazy.
Less than a year after he arrived at Auburn, M’ba was about to have his third position coach on the Plains — and a completely new head coach and defensive coordinator to play for, too. While other teammates saw the coaching change as a chance to go elsewhere, M’ba saw it as an opportunity to stay.
“I was like, ‘OK, it's a new coaching staff. I can restart everything,’” M’ba said. “You know what I'm saying? I can just work and be the player I want to be now. The older coaching staff just got away, and with this new staff, I can reboot everything and be the player I want to be.”
And what is that player?
“I feel like I’m something you don’t see often,” M’ba said. “I’m a guy that is huge, but can move. I feel like d-end is for me. Every d-end you see is smaller than me. When you think about d-end in your head, you think about Myles Garrett or Rashan Gary. They are 280, but I’m 310.
“I feel like at 310, I can be something we haven’t seen and really great. That’s what I’m trying to be.”
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