Jarvis Jones keeps motor running at Georgia

By JAMES CARR
@jamescarr89

HOOVER, Ala. — “Relentless. Passionate. Violent. Competitive.”

That’s just Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones describing his game.

“I don’t know how to do walkthroughs,” Jones said Thursday at the final day of the SEC Media Days. “I do my walkthroughs at full speed and they tell me to slow down. I just love doing everything at my best, so when the time comes I can be at my best.”

It’s not just his attributes on the field that has Georgia singing his praises.

“Well, he is a great player, first of all, it’s obvious,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “But he is also a great guy.”

When he first arrived at Georgia in 2010, Jones was forced to sit out a season after transferring from Southern Cal. A neck injury caused team doctors to rule him unhealthy to play. When two independent doctors cleared Jones, his path was paved to Athens and an already burning fire was doused with gasoline.

“When I had my situation at USC, it kinda took the game away from me, and as a freshman and not being able to do something you love you get kinda down on yourself.” Jones said. “Georgia gave me my second opportunity and I told coach Richt. ‘While I’m here I’m gonna sacrifice everything and give it all I got.”’

Though he couldn’t play on Saturdays that first year in Athens, Jones began his Georgia career immediately. He asked Richt to put him on the scout team, where he instantly became a leader among walkons and freshmen.

“[That] showed me something about his integrity and what type of person and leader he was.” Richt said. “Of course, he’s been making plays ever since.”

After leading the SEC in sacks (13.5) and the Bulldogs in tackles for loss (21) last season, Jones vaulted himself to the top of NFL draft boards.

Not that it made any difference to Jones — he’d already told Richt he wasn’t going anywhere when he first got on campus.

“Jarvis, who probably would have been the highest pick of anyone on our team, comes out and says publicly ‘I’m not going anywhere, I need to get better, I want to come back and do some great things with my teammates,”’ said Richt.

Jones also convinced nine of the 10 teammates who tested the NFL waters to come back with him.

Because of his accolades, Jones enters the season a marked man.

“All week we watch film on him,” said Tennessee lineman Ju’wuan Jones. “We have to slide protection to him sometimes and you always have to be focused on him.”

That’s not a problem for Jarvis Jones. He welcomes the pressure, not only because he can handle it but because he’s confident in his team.

“They’re gonna be surprised because there are a lot playmakers on our defense,” Jones said. “They can put the focus on me and I’ll let other players make plays. I don’t have to have all the stats I had last year. As long as we win those games and our team is doing well, that satisfies me.”

So yes, Jarvis Jones is a bit different.

There aren’t many players who would have passed on the NFL without even checking in on his draft stock. Fewer would have committed themselves to the scout team.

And how many would admit to being burned on Twitter?

“I follow DeMarcus Ware but he never tweets me back,” Jones said with a smile.

If Ware doesn’t know who Jones is for now, he will one day soon.