Q&A: Jarvis Jones just trying to seize the moment and enjoy his time with Dogs

NOTE TO READERS: Sorry for the lack of updates lately but I’ve been enjoying some vacation time heading into the holidays. A shorter, more condensed version of the following Q&A is running in the Sunday edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but I figured I’d offer the unabridged version for the patient and loyal visitors to the UGA blog and give you one last forum for comment before I arrive in Tampa on Dec. 26. In the meantime, I’ll be hanging with the family for the holidays. Best wishes to all of you and thanks kindly for making this a regular stop.

Q&A WITH LINEBACKER JARVIS JONES

Christmas is a time for giving and receiving gifts. But where the Georgia Bulldogs are concerned, Jarvis Jones has been doling out presents all year. The sophomore linebacker from Columbus by way of Southern Cal has been a dominating force for one of the Dogs’ most dominant defenses. He has racked up 69 tackles along with an SEC-leading 13.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss. He needs just one sack in the Jan. 2 Outback Bowl game against Michigan State to break David Pollack’s Georgia record for sacks in a season (14). All of this came after a tumultuous 18-month stretch in which Jones wasn’t even sure if he’d be able to play football again following a neck injury. Now the gifts are coming in for Jones. He was named a first-team All-American by at least four different outlets, including The Associated Press, the American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp and the Football Writers Association of America. He is Georgia’s first consensus All-American on defense since Greg Blue in 2005. We sat down with Jones shortly before the Bulldogs left Athens for Christmas break to find out how he was feeling about his first season at Georgia and why, despite some extremely favorable projections, he chooses to remain a college football player. . . .

Q: Was it one of your preseason goals to earn All-America or all-conference honors?

A: “I really didn’t have any goals. I just went into the season wanting to leave everything I had out there on the field.”

Q: Is it something you even considered?

A: “No, I didn’t. I didn’t even look at it like that. I think I’m more of a team player. I just want to do everything I can to help my team out.”

Q: So how does All-American Jarvis Jones sound to you?

A: “It’s just a blessing for all of us. I know I’m the All-American but it just shows the work that we put in as a group, as a unit. It’s more than just me. Look at Bacarri Rambo. He did good work. If you go across the board on our defense, you’ll see a bunch of players that stepped up and elevated their games. So all the accolades I got, it wasn’t all me. A lot of guys stepped up to get me in position to make plays. I’m just thankful for all the people that had input on that.”

Q: What were your thoughts when you first heard about it?

A: “It’s a big honor. It’s a blessing. Anytime anybody gets an award, it’s a blessing. Look at how many football players there are every year that didn’t make it? There are a lot of good football players out there. So any time you get recognized for what you do, it’s a blessing. I’m very pleased; I’m very humbled. ”

Q: What were your personal expectations in the preseason?

A: “Preseason, I’m going to tell you, the only thing I knew was I was going to go out there and give it everything I had. I didn’t know anything about any awards, no All-American, none of that. I was just trying to prepare myself the best way I could to make plays and help my team out and give my team the best chance of winning.”

Q: Did you even fill out the NFL paperwork to receive a draft evaluation?

A: “No sir. No reason to.”

Q: Aren’t you concerned you might be shortchanging yourself?

A: “At the end of the day I think everything will work out for itself. I’m not really concerned about that. We’re still playing. We’re still in season. With all that said I’m coming back. It is what it is. I’ve just got to keep working, keep getting better.”

Q: What are some of the reasons you don’t feel the need to turn pro now?

A: “I’ve still got a lot to learn. It’s my first year at my position. I mean, I feel like I’ve got the best coach and the best group of players around me. I think we can do a lot of stuff here, some great things if we just stick together and believe in each other like we have been. The sky’s the limit for us.

“I mean, if I did go to the NFL, I could learn that way. I definitely know they’d teach me what I need to know. But here it’s just different. You’ve got guys that you’re really bonding with and that you can have fun with. When you get to the NFL, it’s a whole different level.

“I’m having fun. Being here you can mess up a couple of times.There, man, it’s serious. Them people pay you to play; we get scholarships here. The NFL, if you can’t get it right they’re going to find somebody else. Not saying that I’m not ready for it; I try to prepare myself as well as I can. But it’s just a different atmosphere being here.”

Q: Have you tried to persuade some of the other guys contemplating the NFL to come back?

A: “They know where I stand, man. It’s like I told someone earlier, when that decision comes and it’s right for you, you just have to make it for you.”

Q: You know, if you all you ‘draft-eligibles’ come back, there are going to be some huge expectations for the Bulldogs next season.

A: “Good. We need all the politics we can get so we can be No. 1 in the country next year. I mean, we want all the pub we can get, great guys coming back. Aaron Murray is a great quarterback. He works hard. I know he’s going to take us to the Promised Land. We’ve just got to keep believing.”

Q: Do you think it’s because of your difficult journey to Georgia that you just want to sit tight a while?

A: “It’s been a long time coming. Freshman year, last year, and this year has even been long for us as a team. We started struggling early on. We had some ups and downs and then came out with some close games. There’s been a lot of learning experiences for me. I’m just passionate about this game. I love being here. I love the guys I play with. I love the coaches. I just don’t think I’m ready to let that go yet.”

Q: How did your experience at USC and the very real possibility that you might be able to continue your football career affect you?

A: “You have mentors and guys older guys telling you all the time that football doesn’t last forever and you better take advantage of it. Not being able to play football, just hearing them say that over and over, it was heartbreaking, it was devastating. But now that I got the opportunity to play again, I try to give everything I’ve got. I try to seize the moment. You’ve got to seize the moment. Like they say, any play can be your last play, so you’ve got to give everything you’ve got out there on that field, practice, game, whatever.”

Q: Have you had a chance to talk to David Pollack about the Georgia sack record?

A: “I actually saw him after the SEC game. He was on the sideline and he told me to keep working hard. He told me to go get it. I told him I would.”

Q: You guys were so dominant in the first half against LSU, not even allowing a first down, then the dam kind of broke in the second half. Was there any lesson to be learned in that game?

A: “Lesson? We didn’t even watch the film of it. It was a learning experience, yes. The game is four quarters, not a half. We’ve got to keep on playing, keep on executing. They came out in the second half throwing punches and they scored, they made plays. For us, I don’t even think we got a turnover in that game. That was the biggest difference. I think if we had gotten a couple of turnovers the game would have been a lot different.”

Q: Your Columbus cohort Isaiah Crowell has been under tremendous scrutiny this season and done some things to disappoint coaches, teammates and fans. You seem to have bought in so completely to the team concept. Have you tried to talk to about it?

A: “Always. I talk to all the guys like that. They say I talk too much. It’s all good, man. I try to spread knowledge because I’ve gotten knowledge from older guys and my mentor. For Isaiah, I care about him just like a brother, just like I do for the rest of those guys. I try to keep him humble, try to get him to keep his head right, try to keep him in tunnel vision with football and academics. I’m just trying to keep him on the right path like a big brother is supposed to. I’ve told him, ‘You came here to play football. Everybody knows you’re good, but you’ve got to work harder than most. You’ve got to put yourself on a platform, not saying that you’re better than anybody, but you’ve got to have that work ethic and always be improving on something because even the best have room to improve. You always have to work.’”

Q: You guys have similar backgrounds in that you were a big-time recruit as well. How have you avoided such pitfalls?

A: “For myself, I just never got caught up in the lights. I always stayed humble. I was just so thankful for my opportunity, because it came so quick for me, from not wanting to play football to becoming one of the top linebackers in the country. So when I got to college I was the same way, just work hard, give all I have.”

Q: So do you think it’s starting to resonate with Isaiah?

A: “I think he learned a lot. He’s young. He’s still learning. I definitely think everything he’s been through and done this season has taught him a lot. I think he can use that in the near future to become a better player and a better person.”

111 comments Add your comment

Buckhead Bulldog

December 23rd, 2011
4:03 pm

Every coach’s dream…sic’ ‘em Jarvis!

BobDawg

December 23rd, 2011
4:09 pm

DGD!!! WAY TO GO, JARVIS!!!

Beast from the East Eaten by Dawg

December 23rd, 2011
4:12 pm

This Gator would like to wish all of you Dawgs a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Give ‘em hell in Tampa and make the conference proud!

Go Gators!

hipdawg

December 23rd, 2011
4:12 pm

glad he is coming back!!!!!next year should be fun!!!!

trueUGAfan

December 23rd, 2011
4:16 pm

JJ the man, keep doing great things at UGA…GO DAWGS

Bad Dawg

December 23rd, 2011
4:20 pm

Nice to read a good article and some classy comments. Jarvis Jones is an outstanding young man and I know he has a bright future ahead of him. Happy holidays and Go Dawgs!

gbal

December 23rd, 2011
4:22 pm

D A DoubleU G

December 23rd, 2011
4:22 pm

CMR 3-1 vs BAMA

December 23rd, 2011
4:23 pm

How great would our team be if everybody on our team had the same kind of mentality that Jarvis Jones has. Jarvis is a great role model for the rest of the youngsters on the team.

Jarvis is a DGD. I have a ton of respect for him but he said it himself, football does not last forever. I am a die hard UGA fan but I am of the belief that you should always jump to the NFL if you are projected to be taken in the first round.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

December 23rd, 2011
4:28 pm

That is a DGD! What else needs said? Jarvis will be the leader on defense next year.

Also, Merry Christmas Chip and to other bloggers!

supsalemgr

December 23rd, 2011
4:29 pm

For the Gtaor fan I will be rooting for them against OSU.

It sounds like JJ has his head screwed on right and a true leader. He didn’t deserve Lane Kiffin and Lane Kiffin doesn’t deserve him. Another example of why UGA should recruit character and not characters.

DawgJohn

December 23rd, 2011
4:32 pm

Thanks Jarvis! We are very proud of you. Keep up the great work and enjoy the heck out of this college experience!

Tobias Funke

December 23rd, 2011
4:39 pm

If you liked him before, you LOVE this guy now! Go Dawgs!

AugustaDawg

December 23rd, 2011
4:41 pm

Hope IC learns from JJ. I know it must be tough for an 18 year old to bear the burden of the team, but guys like JJ show it can be done. JJ wasn’t “annointed” and didn’t even see playing time until a few games in for USC. It’s good to know the future is in good hands with stories like Richt and JJ. Prayers go out to the lineman at Texas A&M. He too was a solid person. Just finished handing out gifts to children when he lost his life heading back.

Chris

December 23rd, 2011
4:50 pm

This guy is the real deal. Has his head on straight and is humble, not something you see with big time college athletes. If everyone on the team had his attitude and work ethic UGA would be unstoppable.

Destin Dawg

December 23rd, 2011
4:53 pm

go Dawgs beat Michigan State !!! it should be a tough Big 10 vs. SEC matchup !! JJ and Ogletree will be awesome next year !!!

bitter "dope smok-in running back"

December 23rd, 2011
4:57 pm

thanks jar—-talk to me—-fool——–its cool—toke—-yo——smoke—–cool———————–cool

——————weres i at—————–”O”——jar——-home boy—-i think——–smoke——-toke

——————–hahahahahahahahahahah

bitter joe paa

December 23rd, 2011
4:59 pm

things could be worst crowell—–you could have chose penn st

dawgcrzy

December 23rd, 2011
5:06 pm

class act , we need more like him, he’ll end up being a hero

jay

December 23rd, 2011
5:13 pm

Nice humble kid. Hope he has another AA year next year and makes a fortune in the NFL.

Dawg48

December 23rd, 2011
5:44 pm

If any one wants to know what the can looks like that whoop A$$ comes in……..
It’s red and black with a 29 on it!
DGD!!!!

Hawaii Devil Dawg

December 23rd, 2011
5:46 pm

Jarvis embodies what is great about college football. A man of high character with a unrelenting motor. Sic em Jarvis, youre a DGD!
Merry Christmas, God Bless, and Semper Fi

JDawg1785

December 23rd, 2011
5:47 pm

Jarvis is exactly the kind of guy we need in red and black: humble, intelligent, well-spoken and a monster on the field. A total class act.

Merry Christmas to all! Go Dawgs!

Dawgs1965

December 23rd, 2011
5:47 pm

Merry Christmas to all good Dawgs! Wuff, wuff wuff! Jarvis Jones is a dream come true. What a terrific young man.

bucket

December 23rd, 2011
5:48 pm

What a refreshing article about a UGA player. We are not used to having guys stay who are projected as high 1st rounders. I don’t mean this as a bash against guys like Green, Stafford, or Moreno; but the only way you have a chance to compete for championships is to have some guys who could leave early stay.

UGA76

December 23rd, 2011
6:15 pm

JJ will be highly successful in life in addition to being a first round draft choice. It’s wonderful to have a young man of such high character representing the Bulldog Nation. I hope he stays connected to the UGA program for the rest of his life. The Bulldog Nation is proud of him.

Red Stick

December 23rd, 2011
6:17 pm

I always enjoy your work Chip and Happy Holidays to you and all the fans here.

Good luck to the Dawgs in Tampa.

BTW in case no one heard Pat Dooley reported today that the Gators play at A&M in Week 2 while SC picks up LSU and Missouri, no surprise replaces Bama for Georgia.

Destin Dawg

December 23rd, 2011
6:35 pm

I wish we had Alabama instead of Mizzou… Richt is 2 for 3 vs. Saban.. it would shut up the haters.. Tide Troll etc.

pj

December 23rd, 2011
6:46 pm

Getting some perspective in life is so crucial to start making good decisions. I had a pretty tough stretch of my life – but now I’m married and happy. His injury and release from usc gave him a great outlook on life. I’m glad to have him on our team. That kind of attitude can be infectious and spread to all corners of the program. Good for you JJ – you’re my favorite dawg since Pollack.

dawgerbrown

December 23rd, 2011
6:46 pm

What an impressive young man. A great team-mate, a great leader, and a great attitude that will not only make him a success on the football field, but will translate to making him a success off the field too.

SEC Football

December 23rd, 2011
6:52 pm

The kind of article you like to read. We need to have Orson Charles come back for the offense to have the firepower we need. If he comes back he will be a higher pick after his senior year. Hope Murray can talk him in to coming back!

Brainiac(Dawg for life/Richt fan for life)

December 23rd, 2011
6:53 pm

It is hard to describe and understand how it makes me feel and how a guy like JJ can be so great, on and off the field, and still make that ultimate sacrifice of delaying that huge payday. Very similar to David Pollock.

I hope Kiffen has some more “medical” problem guys like JJ that he will send us. JJ = DGD. Perhaps he should look into getting some insurance in case of serious injury next season.

Supes

December 23rd, 2011
6:58 pm

Chip, thanks for the great read. Excellent interview with our All American LB Jarvis Jones.

Wanna wish the rest of the bloggers and fellow Dawg fans Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas.

Every time I hear or read an interview with Jarvis Jones I come away more impressed with the young man, how he represents himself, the team and the university. I wish him nothing but the best in life, no doubt in my mind if he stays healthy he will succeed in anything he does. Staying humble, working hard, he’s earned EVERYTHING good that’s come his way. I only wish the rest of his team mates were as dedicated as he was to being the best and working the hardest. Proud of Jarvis Jones! Go get them in Tampa!

jack bull

December 23rd, 2011
7:00 pm

JJ sounds extremely humble, i like that.

but i don’t think Murray’s going to take us to the promised land. sorry.

Dawg48

December 23rd, 2011
7:22 pm

Is anyone watching UGA vs furman?

dap01

December 23rd, 2011
7:24 pm

Jarvis Jones is a DGD! Next year, he will become a legend in this state.

Soon to be forever loved by UGA fans

December 23rd, 2011
7:33 pm

Kids like Jarvis Jones will be talked about glowingly in 35-50 years from now, like other great Dawgs and that is what we say when SEC fans peak of their heroes ………….. FOREVER they are our heroes.

If UGA really does well in 2012 ………………….. he will get every financial reward that he dreams of. Even if UGA goes 8-4 and he does well, he will be financially rewarded in the NFL. Sky is the limit for this fine young man.

Goooooooooooooooooooooooooo Dogs.

DAWG07

December 23rd, 2011
7:47 pm

A coach’s dream.

Jarvis keep up the excellent work on and off the field.

Glad you will be back.

southgadawg

December 23rd, 2011
7:54 pm

Nothing but humble, dedicated and loyal team mate. JJ is a persons of integrity and convictions. He has a great future in his life as well as football.

17% of all GT graduates are millionaires

December 23rd, 2011
7:58 pm

Enter your comments here

Dosta Dawg

December 23rd, 2011
8:31 pm

Refreshing comments from an outstanding young man. Good luck to JJ and his teammates against the Spartans.

Merry Christmas to everyone. God loves you.

Phil Laeshio

December 23rd, 2011
8:41 pm

Heavens to Mergatroid! Who is this guy’s financial advisor? Willie Nelson?

mean machine in red and black

December 23rd, 2011
9:16 pm

really lucky to have Jarvis…just wondering if there was a deal set with coaches when he transferred, that he wouldn’t be a “One and done” like Cam Newton. Or maybe after getting him through the NCAA mess this past summer, he felt obligated to return the favor. Regardless, just super proud of him and happy he’ll be back!

boots

December 23rd, 2011
9:38 pm

Great young man, and I am proud that he is a DGD. Keep it up, Jarvis, and thanks for representing the red & black so well. It speaks volumes about you and your family.

Lady Luck

December 23rd, 2011
10:31 pm

JJ has become my favorite dawg this year!!! The D is soooo much fun to watch again…thanks for bringing it each and every Saturday!!!

Top Row Dawg

December 23rd, 2011
11:08 pm

Thank you Carver Columbus. You guys are greatly wanted and needed to put Georgia at top where it belongs. Burn them bridges across the Chattahoochee River down there.

Cuz

December 23rd, 2011
11:15 pm

Well on his way to being a DGD.

Thomas Brown

December 24th, 2011
1:17 am

“They know where I stand, man. It’s like I told someone earlier, when that decision comes and it’s right for you, you just have to make it for you. I love the coaches. I just don’t think I’m ready to let that go yet. I mean, if I did go to the NFL, I could learn that way. I definitely know they’d teach me what I need to know. Like they say, any play can be your last play, so you’ve got to give everything you’ve got out there on that field, practice, game, whatever.”

You’ve got to admit : (1) This guy gets it. As fans, most of us played the game; none of us fans at his level from day 1 for us to enjoy of him, here and in his high school days we all followed. We might have lost touch with this young man out there with Southern California and all their woes – all coaching decisions; but, we quickly filled all that time in completely about his sprained neck. Those questions will not go away. He’ll answer them whenever he is ready to call the season at an end and declare. Some guys just get it. They can get it in any of a number of different fields or Callings. And, (2) This fine young man is well-spoken. Here he is 1 on 1, refers to Mr. Towers as sir, and answers the questions succinctly. This is a smart man. He will score a High Wonderlic Score. He gets it in football, too. He has great grades. Sometimes, a person gets it. It was just 1 year, and it was not the best of years, by stretch of the imagination, but as last year we could hang our hats on a 2nd year freshman (who stepped backwards this season – and, has been quite inconsistent his whole entire career which started here December 2008, who started his 4th season here now – the essence of being able to Declare) and enjoy his playing and project to the future in a dismal season last season, this season we have Jarvis Jones.

Thrill a minute, Jarvis Jones has largely gone unnoticed by this newspaper’s sportswriters. Even here, some underlying question of the wording of his sprained neck – as a neck INJURY.

Note, this, despite the MEDICAL EXPERTS hired by this great University to insure that indeed it was only a sprained neck.

Like I say, those questions will REMAIN. He will answer those questions, either now in January Declaring for the NFL Draft, or next January, or indeed the one after that. He is a Redshirt Sophomore. He can play next 2012 season as a Redshirt Junior. He can play the season after 2013 as a Redshirt Senior. Does all that, and in 2014, they will ask him the same questions. It is not going away.

He has NOTHING to prove. As the only UGA Bulldogs’ Football Player Eligible for The College Football Hall of Fame on this ENTIRE ROSTER, he should Declare. He has time yet. The season isn’t even over.

Jarvis Jones plays a natural position. He is Quick. He is relentless. He is who I want in front of me, while I cover the pass. He is the epitome of what the NFL wants in a 3-4 OLB. He tackles with form and plays heads up; clean, smart, fast, and relentless. He has a football knack. You cannot teach that. You can teach run support. You can teach form tackle. What you cannot teach, is it. Teams will trade-up to take him in the 1st Round. There will be more Medical Evaluations, and the comments, indeed as they are HERE on this BLOG TODAY, will be the SAME AS THIS BLOG AUTHOR’S COMMENTS – indeed the same guy will say the same statement, even after THOSE MEDICAL EVALUATIONS prior to the NFL Draft and during the Combine. He’ll have no option in that, now, or after 2 more Glorious Seasons here; or, anywhere in-between.

Jarvis Jones is no Aundray Bruce.

He has until January 15 to Declare. The NFL Draft will be made or a flop based upon which college stars actually are in the NFL Draft 2012, the 77th NFL Draft. It is the entire essence of what this sport is all about. We have a fine man. I am thankful for watching him this season in person at every opportunity. He is our Best Player 2011, as last season 2010 it was Aaron Murray.

I think he should go, not because I don’t want him back but because he will be one of the top 5 linebackers overall taken and will get for that, a Guaranteed Lifetime Paycheck, one he can invest and live off of, no matter what; and, he will have the NFL Players’ Retirement Fund, which is also a huge big deal. If there is anyone who knows this, with what happened on his sprained neck, it is OLB Jarvis Jones.

January 15th. 3 weeks and 1 day. Our game is 1 week and 2 days away. I’d like to beat Michigan State. It would be the Most Meaningful win since Georgia tek 2009; of course, if Georgia tek had won that game, it would have been VACATED. Prior to that, then, this is the Most Meaningful win since 2006, six (6) seasons ago when we beat # 9 Auburn but we LOST 4 games that season including to 8-Loss Vandie. This game is important.

Chip, this isn’t about IC.

doggie

December 24th, 2011
1:38 am

17%… 100% of it will burn one day.

doggie

December 24th, 2011
1:38 am

btw.. Merry Christmas!