ATHENS – Chatting with several reporters for about 15 minutes between practices Tuesday, Georgia junior linebacker Jarvis Jones mentioned that he is on pace to graduate next summer.
He smiled as he realized that comment invited the sure-to-be-often-asked question: Will he stick around campus that long or leave early for the 2013 NFL draft?
“Man, we’ve got a long season ahead of us,” Jones said. “A prediction or anything in that sense -– I’m just going to let it play out. I know where you’re trying to get me to go there, but if I’m blessed to have the opportunity, I think our coaches and the Bulldog Nation will realize. But as far as now, we’re in training … and that’s what I’m focused on, making myself and my teammates better.
“The next move, man, is going to be down the road, which I don’t know what it is yet. I’m just trying to take it all in stride. You know, carpe diem and just seize the moment I have right now.”
Jones also was eligible for this year’s NFL draft (because of his redshirt season in 2010 after transferring from USC), but he never considered the option despite a splendid 2011 season in which he was named a first-team All-American by the Associated Press and a half-dozen other organizations.
“I think [people] know I stayed to get better, stayed to mature and become a better person outside of football,” Jones said today. “You get some people that are, like, ‘Well, I would have taken the money’, or ‘I would have [done] this.’ It ain’t all about the money. A lot of guys could have left and made money. But they … came back here here to get better, to become legends of the university. Because once football is over here, you’ll never step between the hedges again and play.
“You got to … leave everything here that you can. I think that’s what we want to do. … All the guys, they bought into it, and we believe in each other and want to do something great. All the guys don’t want to be just another name or another number that just came through here and went to the pros. We want to [put up] one of those [championship] plaques downstairs and be remembered as long as this university stands.”
RECENT REPORTS FROM UGA FOOTBALL PRACTICES: