Georgia’s Jarvis Jones ‘may be the best defensive player in America’

By D. Orlando Ledbetter
Staff Writer

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Georgia all-American linebacker Jarvis Jones, playing with a sore groin, came up with two big plays to help the Bulldogs rout Missouri in their first game in Southeastern Conference play.

Jones helped to blow the game open with an interception and a sack in the fourth quarter that led to 14 points in the 41-20 victory on Saturday. He finished with 8 tackles, one sack, a forced fumble and an interception.

The Bulldogs held a 27-20 lead with under nine minutes to play when Jones intercepted a pass at Missouri’s 22 and rumbled down to the 1-yard line. It was the first interception of his career

On the ensuing play, running back Todd Gurley scored a touchdown.

On Missouri’s next possession, Jones sacked Missouri quarterback James Franklin and caused a fumble. Jordan Jenkins recovered the ball at Missouri’s 5-yard line.

Three plays later, Ken Malcome scored on a 6-yard touchdown run.

“He may be the best defensive player in American,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said.

The Bulldogs were not sure how much Jones would be able to play against the Tigers.

“I’ll be honest with you, he strained his groin in the middle of the week and he couldn’t really move around very good by Wednesday,” Richt said. “We were just hoping that he’d be able to go. It was bothering him the whole game.

“It’s hard to believe that, but he sucked it up and played the whole time. He made the very big plays when we needed them the most.”

Jones did not think about not playing in the team’s SEC opener.

“A lot of guys out there look up to me,” Jones said. “I just had to go the extra mile. I have to push myself and push them so that we can be so much better.”

Jones was startled that Franklin threw the ball to him. He was spying on the quarterback and wasn’t supposed to drop into coverage. But once he realized that Franklin was not going to run, his instincts took over.

“I read the quarterback’s eyes and he threw it straight to me,” Jones said.

The Tigers had trouble finding Jones, because defensive coordinator Todd Grantham kept moving him around.

“He can do multiple things,” Grantham said. “We can move him around so that they can’t get a bead on him. You are just trying to get him in one-on-one matchups and when you do that, he makes plays.”

On the sack-strip, Jones beat his man and made the big play.

“He’s a pretty explosive guy,” Grantham said. “The position that he plays is going to allow him to make some plays. The kid works hard and prepares. He’s really smart and instinctive.”

The Bulldogs were trailing 17-9, but with the aid of some timely passing and Jones’ big plays, they went on to outscore the Tigers 32-3 over the finals 26 minutes of action.

“We just went out there and played until the end of the game,” Jones said. “The game is four quarters. Mizzou had their big plays. They threw their punches, but you have to play the whole game.”

Jones’ big plays helped out the offense that sputtered at times against the Tigers.

“He’s spectacular,” quarterback Aaron Murray said. “There is no one in the country who can block him. He’s just an unbelievable player. … There is no way to describe how hard he works and what kind of player that he is.”

Jones also drew some inspiration from the pundits.

“ESPN picked us to get upset,” Jones said. “No matter what people say, at the end of the day we have to get out on the field. They’ve got to walk out on the field. We have to walk out on the field. Football is a man’s game. At the end of the day, it’s a man’s game.”

Jones didn’t want to take any shots at the Tigers defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who said Georgia played “old man” football.

“They understand now,” Jones said. “We don’t have to send no message. We won. But let’s not take anything away from them; they are a good ball club. They play hard. They are a well-organized program, but this is SEC football.”

67 comments Add your comment


September 9th, 2012
1:48 am

yep, gonna be a special year……


September 9th, 2012
1:50 am

Get the four 4 suspended back, work on the o-line…………GET MURRY TO SETTLE DOWN and BOBO to be more well…..whatever, all wil be well in the Bulldawg Nation!! Great win Dawgs….now heal up!!


September 9th, 2012
1:51 am

and First….second….and third………i guess…………..if it matters!


September 9th, 2012
2:21 am

Best defensive player in the country? Outside of Barkley, I cannot see an argument for there being a better player in the country, period. He is a special, special guy.

Hope that John Jenkins and Geathers are alright, curious to see the injury report on those guys.


September 9th, 2012
2:32 am

This is GROWN MAN FOOTBALL!!! Welcome to the SEC Missouri! Jarvis Jones is a class act and unquestionably the BEST defensive player in the country!! And arguably the BEST PLAYER PERIOD!! This is gonna be a HUGE year for the DAWGS!!


September 9th, 2012
2:35 am

Champ, pollack and Jarvis – the three best uga defenders since 82


September 9th, 2012
2:50 am

WOW, Jarvis Jones is an absolute beast….if the Heisman talk hasn’t started yet….let it begin NOW…this guy is just a work horse and unstoppable!! Great win DAWGS, keep it up!!!


September 9th, 2012
4:01 am

Pj did you really just make a list of best defenders since 82 and not put Terry Hoage on it?


September 9th, 2012
6:34 am

@Phillip — Jarvis Jones has my early heisman vote. Unfortunately, my vote doesnt count :(


September 9th, 2012
6:42 am

Jarvis is the man. When we get Sanders, Rambo, and Tree back our D will be hard to handle.


September 9th, 2012
6:44 am

The key to this year will be Murry, he has a way of struggling in big games, a lot of overthrows, once he settiled down we were ok, got to get him going early!!


September 9th, 2012
6:47 am

Jarvis Jones>David Pollack

I thought Pollack was one of the most dominant Bulldog defenders I had ever seen. And I was around for Hoage, Worner, Champ and Boss. But Jarvis seems to take it to a whole new level.

Jarvis will be hell, when he hits the NFL.


September 9th, 2012
6:49 am

DOL how often they let you do some other things besides Falcons?


September 9th, 2012
7:31 am

How good would USC be if Jones was still on that team?


September 9th, 2012
7:38 am

Jones = Wow and just think if those other starters had been on the D. Mitchell looks good back there too.


September 9th, 2012
7:45 am

Defensively the dawgs will be okay, but I think we all expected that. Offense is another story though. Murray plays like a freshman every time he plays in a big game. I would like to think he would figure out how to settle down, but I think if he could, he would have by now. That being said, he is undoubtedly UGA’s best option at QB.

just a fan

September 9th, 2012
7:56 am

Marlon Brown had a great game IMHO good hands he did have one drop but made big catches all night


September 9th, 2012
8:06 am

Jones is a beast. He sets the tone for the D. What makes this game more special is that we played 10 on defense all night. Connor Norman is absolutely the worst player I have seen in a while. Grantham just hides him as far back as he can, and when he has a chance to make a play, he doesn’t have the ability to do it. I can’t believe that JHC is not playing safety.


September 9th, 2012
8:14 am

Jarvis Jones looks like Lawrence Taylor on the football field.

Peston Thompson

September 9th, 2012
8:15 am

If Georgia can win like they are now, just how good can they get when everybody’s back hitting on all cylinders? I’ll have to give them credit for focusing with the front line players suspended and the subs play at the level they are. I’m really impress. Bobo has just got to find a way to settle Murry down.


September 9th, 2012
8:17 am

jarvis is the best defensive player in world history! Yawn…………..


September 9th, 2012
8:31 am

Conner Norman may not be the best athlete on the team but at least he was there on the team on the field and not suspended. Cudos to him for being a class act and a great dawg.


September 9th, 2012
8:39 am

One of the best dawgs of all time. Great heart. True leader. Team first


September 9th, 2012
8:58 am

I love the quote at the end. Very rarely do you see that kind of sportsmanship today.


September 9th, 2012
8:59 am

Jarvis is like a “Hog Dawg”, when he locks on to you, you are going to end up squealing!!!

My God, a groin injury | Get The Picture

September 9th, 2012
9:25 am

[...] looks like in all the focus on the suspensions hoohah, a much bigger story was missed. The Bulldogs were not sure how much Jones would be able to play against the [...]

1969 Graduate

September 9th, 2012
9:29 am

Coach Richt got it right when he said Jarvis Jones may be the best defensive player in the country right now.

I’m going to hold on to my hat a bit before I join my friend from Augusta and declare him better than David Pollack, but Mr. Jones was a one man wrecking crew last night.

Imagine being able to do what he did with a groin injury! If you’ve ever had one, you know how much more amazing his accomplishments last night were. Talk about a Damn Good Dog!

Go, Georgia Bulldogs!

Bulldawg Rick

September 9th, 2012
9:39 am

THe above mentioned Great D Dawgs, Champ, JJ & Pollack all have something in common too… Humble, will whip your Butt till the whistle blows, then help you up & dust you off…

BTW, kinda classy of Franklin to pause a sec when Hotel 6 went down..

Good road win over a quality team in an almost hostile environment..

Go Dawgs!

Old Dawg

September 9th, 2012
9:40 am

Thank you Southern Cal medical staff. Where do I send your Christmas present?


September 9th, 2012
9:57 am

Now that we have an SEC caliber DC, it is just a shame that we dont have an SEC caliber OC.


September 9th, 2012
10:21 am

Joe, I was thinking the same thing. I haven’t seen a player dominate a game from the defensive side of the ball since LT. Jones makes the rest of the defense better. Teams will have to scheme to stop him and that will open up plays for the other players on defense. JJ is fun to watch!

Salty Dawg

September 9th, 2012
10:27 am

Great game!This team has the potential to be special indeed.When we get our starters back on D and our O line gels this team will play with anyone.Murray will be fine, he was running for his life that first half.A qb without his wheels would have been killed in that first half.Running backs are coming along fine,as are the wideouts.Imagine what this offense could be when we get suspended guys back and Mitchell can start playing significant Offense reps.Good game in hostile environment while being undermanned on D speaks well for this teams potential,I would grade them out at a B for this game,Game ball to Jarvis what a Beast.Go DAWGS !!


September 9th, 2012
10:28 am

Jarvis Jones is everything a coach could hope for in a player. Sometimes it looks like he’s the only one on our team that is really giving it his all.

Kudos to Grantham and the boys. They saw the Buffalo tapes and didn’t like what they saw, so they made the adjustments and the players stepped up. John Jenkins had a huge game and so did Herrera.

Now if we can just get the offense squared away!

Fair n Balanced

September 9th, 2012
10:39 am

Jones saved the game last night. Game ball went to Richt, but MVPerson was Jones! His effort is equal to two people. Have him on the field is like having 12 men on the team.

[...] from: Georgia’s Jarvis Jones ‘may be the best defensive player in America’ ← Back to Home Tags: ball, big, bulldogs, defensive, end, football, game, georgia, [...]

Coffee Bluff DAWG

September 9th, 2012
11:33 am

Jarvis J is a man among boys on the field. If there is a better defensive player in CFB I’d like to know who that would be.

Here is a guy who is lightning fast at the snap, almost unblockable,and is a great leader. Some of the other UGA players need to take a cue from him.

GT is a 4th rate High School Team

September 9th, 2012
11:37 am

Old man football way better than delusional HS style teams.


September 9th, 2012
11:39 am

Glad to have this one over, and glad Jarvis is a Dawg. Mizzou and A&M are great additions! I truly enjoyed every minute of the Aggies vs Gators and was hoping they would neuter that punk Muschamp in their own loud back yard. I got some Aggie gear on order for sure, and I will be rooting for them until they play the Dawgs. If we could only find a way to get Clemson in and Arkansas out!


September 9th, 2012
11:52 am

Such a class act. Everything about him, from his words to his play on the field. So happy that USC was stupid enough to let him go. He’s definitely my vote for Heisman.


September 9th, 2012
11:56 am


September 9th, 2012
12:06 pm

I met both Jarvis Jones and Jon Jenkins while at my daughters freshman orientation at UGA this past summer. I cannot say enough wonderful things about these two young men!! They are as wonderful off the field as they are on the field!!! That is a RARE find!!! Congrats to both of these young men on a GREAT game….and GOOOOOOOOOOO Dawgs!!!!!

mcg dawg

September 9th, 2012
12:28 pm

Agree with you TY @ 8:31…..Connor Norman WAS THERE…giving his all!
TOTAL TEAM PLAYER! Hope that THE ENTITLED ONES have learned that lesson. SELAH!

who's your daddy

September 9th, 2012
12:39 pm

Good W for the Dawgs! Without JJ we quite likely lose the game, and he did all that with a strained groin!?! Ouch!! Game ball goes to Jarvis, but he probably gives it to Richard Samuel who made a key play on the fake punt. Cant wait to see the D unleashed on the gamecocks!

Lilburn Dawg

September 9th, 2012
12:43 pm

My dream would be for just one game to be able to see Jarvis playing on the same UGA team along with Clowney (from So. Carolina), and Richard Samuel on defense as a linebacker. That would be something to behold!!

Rick James

September 9th, 2012
12:58 pm

@Lilburn Dawg

My dream would be for just one game to be able to see Jarvis playing on the same UGA team along with Clowney (from So. Carolina), and Richard Samuel on defense as a linebacker. That would be something to behold!!
I dony know if I agree on Samuel but Clowney and Jarvis on any team together would be a sight to behold..


September 9th, 2012
1:02 pm

Why would we want the choke artists that are clemson. We have enough tigers in this league anyway.

I’d take VaTech and Louisville for kentucky and either mississippi team.


September 9th, 2012
1:09 pm

Welcome to the SEC Missouri!!! Jarvis is a beast, can’t wait untill we get Ogletree and Rambo back then its really gonna be ugly!!! GO DAWGS!!! Can’t wait to pound GT again this year and make it 11 out of 12. Remember you nerds have to come back to Athens this year!!! Had so much fun 2 years ago, it was so funny to see all of you posers, 40 year old Techies wanting to fight with 16 year old dawg fans, untill DirtyDawg stepped in and then it got QUIET!!! Look me up come November 24th, section 106, row 57, seat 25, looking foward to it.

USA today editor

September 9th, 2012
1:13 pm

Jones is very good. But playing against a team that had a below average line is going to make most good players look great.

This is big boy football and UGA is not quite ready for Big Boy football with LSU, Alabama, Oregon and even Jones team that would not let him play in Southern California.

The offense sputtered along, Murray through into coverage, much of the game there was very little running room, the offensive line got whipped, receivers dropped balls and the defense gave up big plays.

Good win on the road but UGA is not today a top 10 team or coached team.

Is that plain enough?

It is factual and real!


September 9th, 2012
1:22 pm

Jarvis Jones is the entire package: Strong, fast, instinctive, smart player, and most importantly, a good head on his shoulders. He says the right things and acts like a true leader on the field. I hope all the players emulate Jarvis Jones on and off the field…especially Aaron Murray who seem to get frustrated at his teammates. Aaron, do you hear that? You need to act like a true leader in the Offense as Jarvis Jones to the Defense! At the end of the game, shake hands and walk off the field while congratulating your teammates instead of raising a stupid dry eraser board.


September 9th, 2012
1:27 pm

We made plays…whether it was Richard Samuel’s stopping the fake punt, Jarvis’ any number of em, Murray’s buckling down or the receivers’ – all of em. We make plays and we stand a good chance, if not a guarantee, of winning. Way to go Dogs.