Jarvis Jones won’t be suiting up for the Georgia Bulldogs this fall.
The ballyhooed linebacker from Columbus — who made up his mind on Tuesday to transfer from Southern Cal to UGA — said he could try to gain immediate eligibility with the Bulldogs, but he doesn’t plan to pursue it.
“I’m redshirting no matter what,” said Jones, speaking by telephone late Tuesday as he remained in Athens for a second night. “I’m going to sit out the season and get my body right.”
Jones will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Jones spent Monday and Tuesday in Athens touring the school and football facilities and hanging out with players before deciding to commit to the Bulldogs late Tuesday afternoon.
He also met with medical personnel to discuss the neck injury that cut short his freshman season at USC. Jones said was cleared by UGA doctors, who examined him thoroughly and put him through a series of tests Tuesday morning.
“I did good on all my tests and went through everything and they said I looked all right,” Jones said. “I’m just going to take some extra time to make sure I’m completely healthy.”
Then a freshman linebacker, Jones sprained his neck in the Trojans’ eighth game last season and had to sit out the rest of the year. USC doctors subsequently would not medically clear Jones for spring practice this year. Jones sought second and third opinions and said he was told he should be able to play football. But the Trojans’ doctors still refused to clear him. Jones finally asked for and was granted a release from USC.
“It was just some nerve damage,” Jones said of the injury. “I pinched a couple of nerves in my neck and they thought it might now heal, but it did.”
Jones had intended to visit Florida State and maybe a few other schools before deciding on a new destination. But he said he saw all he needed in the last two days in Athens.
“It’s just a totally different situation than it was when I was coming out of high school,” Jones said. “I always liked Georgia. I always liked the way Coach [Mark] Richt carried himself and how he runs his program and that he’s a Godly man and all that. But this time it was more of business decision.
“I sat down with the new defensive coordinator, Coach [Todd] Grantham, and we talked for a long time. I really like his defense and the way he’s got everything planned out. I believe he can coach me up and help me get ready for the NFL.”
Jones still has to complete SEC financial aid paperwork to make the transfer to Georgia official. And even when he does sign the agreement, it is binding within the conference only. He would still be free to go to FSU or another out-of-conference school if he chose.
But Jones said he intends to stick with UGA and will begin classes in early July.
“I’m going to shut everything down,” he said of his recruitment. “I’m definitely a Georgia Bulldog now. I’m not looking for any attention and going all over the place like I did last time. This is home. I’m good.”
Before the neck injury, Jones (6-foot-3, 236 pounds) played in the first eight games of his freshman season with the Trojans and was talked about as USC’s next great linebacker. He finished with 13 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
The 2008 AJC Super 11 selection was twice named Class AAA Defensive Player of the Year and had 234 tackles his final two seasons in high school. He signed with USC in February 2009 after a rigorous recruiting battle between Georgia, Florida, LSU and Texas. This time he chose the Bulldogs over Florida State, Clemson and North Carolina.