Jarvis Jones heads deep SEC defensive class
Choosing the top SEC defensive player is a difficult task. Widely regarded as the best defensive conference in the country, SEC defenders are the best of the best. In fact, more difficult than choosing the top defensive player in the conference, and possibly the country, was limiting the list to just 10 players -- a CBS 2013 NFL mock draft has seven SEC defenders taken in the first round. That said, it’s a player who has traveled the country and played in two conferences who takes our top spot heading into the 2012 season.
Jarvis Jones transferred to Georgia after a neck injury caused team doctors at Southern California to rule him unhealthy to play during the spring of 2010. After being cleared by two independent doctors, Georgia saw fit to offer him a spot on their team, an especially good match for the Columbus native in the Bulldogs’ new 3-4 defense.
Bulldog fans waited patiently for Jones, who had to sit out his first season in Athens to comply with transfer rules. Grantham often alluded to Jones, noting that the best player on the defense couldn’t play. When he finally could, Jones blew the expectations out of the water.
Jones racked up award after award after tallying 70 tackles, including 19.5 for a loss. He was a force in stopping both the run and pass. Most importantly, he added immense pressure to the quarterback at all times – a threat Georgia had missed for several seasons – leading the team and conference with 13.5 sacks, 49 quarterback pressures and two forced fumbles.
Quarterbacks, running backs and receivers in the flat be warned: Jones -- the second overall player on Mel Kiper’s big board -- should have another huge year for the ever-improving Georgia defense.