No matter what happens on draft weekend, former Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Jarvis Jones will be drafted relatively high and will make an impact right off the bat.
The same questions that surround Jones now were the same questions surrounding him when he first arrived on the UGA campus a few years ago. USC said that Jones was not healthy enough to play, but Georgia thought otherwise and Jones was a difference-maker for the Bulldogs from Day 1.
Many talented linebackers have played between the hedges, but Jones is the best linebacker to ever play for the Bulldogs.
It is a bold statement to make for someone who only played for two years. But he was as productive in those two seasons as any linebacker for the Bulldogs, and he was the reason why Georgia won 22 games in the last two seasons.
In 26 games over the course of two seasons, Jones tallied 155 tackles, 28 sacks, 88 quarterback pressures, nine forced fumbles and one interception.
The total tackles won’t wow anybody because linebackers can rack up 160 tackles in one season. But Jones’ 28 sacks puts him in a tie for third in school history.
If he had played four years at UGA, Jones would have shattered David Pollack’s record of 36 sacks. In fact, the top three sack leaders, Pollack, Richard Tardits and Jimmy Payne, compiled their sacks in a four-year span. Jones had to sit out the 2010 season because he transferred from USC.
Jones could get after the quarterback, but that is just one of the many reasons why he is the best linebacker in UGA history. No other linebacker has made more of an impact on a Bulldogs team than Jones.
As it was mentioned earlier, some talented linebackers have played in Athens. One of them was Ben Zambiasi, who is the all-time leader in total tackles.
Knox Culpepper is another great UGA linebacker who is not far behind Zambiasi on the all-time tackles list and also holds the school record for most tackles in a season with 170 in 1984.
In the '90s, Mo Lewis and Randall Godfrey were the dominant linebackers for the Bulldogs. Lewis led the team in tackles in 1990 with 119, while Godfrey tallied 114 in 1992 and 1993.
Boss Bailey and Rennie Curran ran over offensive playmakers in the 2000s. Bailey was an All-American in 2002 and a key player in the Bulldogs' SEC Championship that year. Curran was an All-American linebacker in 2010 and a finalist for the Butkus Award as a sophomore in 2008.
All of these linebackers accomplished a lot in Athens. But Jones stands above all of them.
Aaron Murray has been a key part of the Bulldogs' success the last two years. But if it weren’t for the playmaking ability of Jones over the course of the last two seasons, the Bulldogs would not have been five yards away from a BCS Championship appearance last year and would not have won the SEC East title the last two years.
Jones' case is almost similar to Pollack's when he was playing in Athens. Pollack’s playmaking ability was a huge reason the Bulldogs won the SEC Championship in 2002 and the SEC East in 2003.
The defensive end from Snellville, Georgia went on to become a three-time All-American and one of the greatest defensive players to ever play college football.
Jones will not go down as one of the best defensive players in college football history. But being the best linebacker in the history of Georgia Bulldogs football is still an impressive feat.