Is Georgia's Jarvis Jones the Best Defensive Candidate for 2012 Heisman Trophy?

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterSeptember 11, 2012

Georgia LB Jarvis Jones
Georgia LB Jarvis JonesEd Zurga/Getty Images

The Heisman Trophy is the highest individual award in college football. 

Since 1935, the award annually recognizes "the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity."

Lately, though, the award seems to be reserved for the best offensive player on the one of the best teams in the country.

There are, of course, exceptions.

Robert Griffin III's Baylor team wasn't in the national title mix last season, and Charles Woodson primarily played defensive back and returned kicks in 1997 for Michigan. 

If you're looking for a non-traditional candidate for this year's Heisman Trophy, look no further than Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones.

Jones took over in the second half of the Bulldogs' SEC opener vs. Missouri. The junior finished the night with nine tackles, two sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles and five quarterback pressures in the 41-20 win, taking home SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors in the process.

Georgia's offense has looked inconsistent, especially when quarterback Aaron Murray gets pressure in his face. But if Jones plays like he did Saturday night for the rest of the season, it might not matter.

With apologies to Manti Te'o, Sam Montgomery, Jadeveon Clowney and all of the other top-notch athletes on the defensive side of the football, Jones is the most likely defensive candidate.

He plays on a team in national title contention, and he already has proven the ability to take over a game when he's needed most.

If that's not "outstanding," I'm not sure what is.

Granted, if we are going by the actual definition for the award as defined by the Heisman Trust, Alabama center Barrett Jones may be the most outstanding player in college football.

But there's no way that an offensive lineman even makes the trip.

Players on the defensive side of the football have made it to New York in two of the last three seasons. While it's unlikely that Jones will actually win the Heisman, but if he plays like he did on Saturday night, don't count out him making the trip to New York in December.