Jarvis Jones’ performance against Florida had Georgia coach Mark Richt Tuesday taking his praise for the junior outside linebacker to a new level from earlier in the season.
After his dominant showing against Missouri on Sept. 8, Richt said Jones “may be the best defensive player in America.”
He went further Tuesday after initially repeating that first evaluation.
“I can’t think of a better player than Jarvis in the whole United States of America,” Richt said. “He’s the best.”
Jones (8 ½ sacks) was asked if he told former Bulldog defensive end David Pollack (14 sacks) that he’s coming after his single-season sack record.
“I think he knows,” said Jones, second in the nation in sacks. “I’m very humble about it. Just keep working towards it. …I’m pushing for it. I’m coming.”
Jones isn’t getting any love on The Heisman Pundit/CBS Sports.com Heisman Straw Poll. He’s not among the eight players listed.
Kansas State’s Collin Blein is first with 31 points and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o is second with 13.
Jones also isn’t listed among the 12 players that show up in ESPN’s Experts’ Poll for its Heisman Watch.
“I know the linebacker at Notre Dame is a great player as well,” Richt said. “They may be equally great. They’re both so important to their defensive side of the ball and to their team. Jarvis is a pretty dynamic player to have the pass rush ability, the ability to drop back and make the pick or be the guy that mirrors a quarterback who’s athletic or be the guy that stops the run two, three yards back in the backfield. Just stones somebody that’s trying to block him and makes the play right there.”
Jones leads in the nation in tackles for loss (he has 14) and forced fumbles (he has five).
He said he learned from watching LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu, who led the SEC last year in forced fumbles: “He was always going for the ball.”
Jones picked up another honor on Tuesday when he was named the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski national defensive player of the week after his 13 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and two recovered fumbles againstFlorida.
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