Georgia Football 2011: Is Jarvis Jones the Best Linebacker in the SEC?

Brian JonesContributor INovember 1, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 29: Jarvis Jones #29 of the Georgia Bulldogs tackles John Brantley #12 of the Florida Gators during the game at EverBank Field on October 29, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Georgia Bulldogs defense is one of the reasons the Bulldogs have a chance to win 10 games this year. The unit has been swarming to the football, rarely makes mistakes and most importantly, they make big plays instead of giving up big plays.

There are many key players integral to the unit's success, such as Bacarri Rambo and Michael Gilliard. Both  have made impact plays to help the Bulldogs earn some key victories this season.

But linebacker Jarvis Jones has been nothing short of outstanding all season long, and many might say he is the reason the Bulldogs are ranked as one of the best defenses in the country.

So here’s a question. Is Jones the best linebacker in the SEC? And if he is the best linebacker in the conference, could he be the best defensive player as well?

The best defensive player is tough to argue because there are a few players from Alabama and LSU that are in the running for that title. Some have even dared call the unit in Tuscaloosa one of the best to ever come through college football.

Those contenders for the defensive crown notwithstanding, Jones has certainly played like the best linebacker in the conference this season.

He leads the conference in sacks (eight) and tackles for loss (14). Jones has been remarkably consistent with his play, but had a coming out party against Florida when he sacked John Brantley four times, making him the fifth player in school history to tally four sacks in a game.

So how did Georgia end up with a guy like Jones? Originally, they did not sign Jones because Jones signed with USC in 2009 and played eight games that season before injuring his neck.

Jones was not cleared to play last year, so he asked to be released from his scholarship and decided to come to Georgia because it was closer to his hometown which is in Columbus, Ga. Jones was on the team last fall, but took a redshirt.

Before this season began, he was working his way up the depth chart, but was almost derailed by the NCAA because there were allegations that he received benefits from an administrator from his hometown parks and recreations department.

Jones was cleared from all NCAA allegations and made his first start with the Bulldogs against Boise State. He recorded 11 tackles in that game and has not looked back since.

It was recently announced Jones was named the Bronco Nagurski Defensive Player of the Week for his play against the Gators and will be added to the Nagurski Award watch list for the end of the season.

Jones recently told the Washington Post that he's not big and he’s not fast. He’s just a guy that comes at his opposition every play.

Being a great linebacker is not about being the biggest or the fastest. How many former No. 1 recruits have bottomed out in recent seasons?

It’s not about the hype; rather, it's about giving everything you have every time you step on the field, along with playing smart football.

Jones has done that and more, and that’s why the Bulldogs are one of the top defenses in the nation. As for being the best linebacker in the SEC, if there is another linebacker better than Jones in the conference, I’m not sure who it is.