The Georgia Bulldogs defense will be good this year.
Nobody is going to argue that because of what it was able to accomplish last season and virtually everyone that played on the defensive unit will be back this season.
So Jarvis Jones, John Jenkins, Bacarri Rambo, Alec Ogletree and Shawn Williams will look to build off the success they had in 2011 and look to have a huge 2012 season.
But there is one player who does not get as much attention as the star players yet he was just as productive as the major players on the defense. Abry Jones was a key piece on the defensive line for the Bulldogs and shows no signs of slowing down.
He did suffer a knee contusion during practice this week, but he is looking to bounce back from it and should be ready to go on September 1.
Here’s what you need to know about Jones this season.
Despite the injury Jones suffered during practice this week, he could be the most durable defensive lineman on the roster.
Jones started all 14 games and rarely came out of the game to take a breather. In 2010, Jones appeared in 13 games, making six starts and in 2009 he played in 12 games.
Knowing that Jones knows how to take care of his body is a plus for the coaching staff. They know that they can count on Jones to take care of himself when other players begin to suffer some wear and tear during the season.
Because Jones has not missed any playing time, he has also been one of the most consistent defensive linemen the last two years.
In 2010, Jones tallied 34 tackles and six quarterback hurries and he was only a part-time starter.
Last year Jones racked up 47 tackles with seven tackles for loss, four sacks and 20 quarterback hurries.
Jones is one of those guys that can shed blocks when being double-teamed and can rush off the edge when going one-on-one with a tackle. It will be very interesting to see the numbers he will put up in his final year with the Bulldogs.
The experts are starting to take notice of Jones because he is on the Hendricks Award Watch List. The Hendricks Award is given to the nation’s best defensive lineman and the last Bulldog to win the award was David Pollack.
Jones is one of only nine players from the SEC to be on the watch list. Overall, there are 40 defensive linemen who made the list.
Jones is not the same type of player as Pollack, but if he is able to improve on his numbers from last year, he will definitely be in the running for the award.
Jenkins will get a lot of attention this year because of his size and he can make plays in the backfield. But the opposing offensive linemen in the SEC need to focus more on Jones because he has the ability to take over a game.
Back in 2010, Jones had 16 total tackles against Georgia Tech en route to a 42-34 win. Last year he was named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week for racking up four tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss against Kentucky.
One of his better performances came against Vanderbilt last year when he broke up three pass plays and forced a fumble to help the Bulldogs win a crucial game.
There is every reason to think Jones will have a successful 2012 season. He has gotten better every year and will look to finish his college career on a high note.
If there has to be a prediction on Jones’ season numbers, he should finish with 55 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
Will that be enough for him to win the Hendricks Award? Probably not, but they should be good enough numbers to make him a First-Team All-SEC member.
Also, if he has those type of numbers, that means the defense is going to be something special this upcoming season.