Jones can't lose

Junior LB knows there are reasons to go pro, but UGA's pull is strong

Updated: December 29, 2012, 8:17 PM ET
By David Ching | DawgNation

Jarvis Jones has more than one option after Tuesday's Capital One Bowl, but only one comes with a likely multimillion-dollar payday.

That's what makes Jones' pending decision on whether to stay at Georgia for his senior season so difficult. He'd like to remain a Bulldog for another season and complete his college degree, but the two-time All-American -- rated as a top-five NFL prospect by ESPN's Mel Kiper and Todd McShay -- knows his draft status could hardly be more favorable.

[+] EnlargeJarvis Jones
Daniel Shirey/US PresswireJunior LB Jarvis Jones sees several reasons he could stay at Georgia rather than leave for the NFL.
"It is a tough decision," the Columbus, Ga., native said after a recent pre-Christmas bowl practice. "I've got a bunch of teammates that look up to me and that I lead every day. I've got a family that I want to support and a mother that I just want to give the world to, my sister and my nieces and my nephews. People back in Columbus that support me the most. And the Bulldog Nation as well, I know they don't want to see me go.

"Shoot, I wish this could be my NFL career, just play how long I want to play in college and be here. That would be fun, just to be around these guys all the time and I know they wish they didn't have to leave and go to the NFL."

Jones hasn't announced a decision, but he fully understands that the NFL isn't adding an expansion franchise in Athens, Ga., anytime soon. He'll still be several credit hours short of the college degree he wants to complete if he elects to leave school after his No. 7 Bulldogs (11-2) face No. 16 Nebraska in the bowl game Jan. 1.

"It's all about just experiencing new things and just growing in life. That's how you've got to look at it," Jones said of the possibility of leaving after his junior season. "I'm sure if I stay, thing would be great and if I leave, things would be great. It's all a timetable and I've got to get my mind right about where I want to be."

In just two seasons at Georgia, Jones has made a strong argument as the most dominant defensive player in Mark Richt's 12 seasons as the Bulldogs' coach.

Last season, the USC transfer came within a half-sack of matching David Pollack's school record of 14 sacks in a single season. With 12.5 sacks this season, Jones is once again in position to threaten Pollack's record -- and his 26 sacks in two seasons already represent the best two-year total in school history. And with 22.5 tackles for a loss this fall, he is one behind Pollack's school-record total of 23.5 from 2002.

But he's quick to point out he hasn't claimed any records yet.

"There's always something to do here," Jones said. "I haven't broken [Pollack's sack record] yet. I haven't broken that, I probably haven't broken a lot of records, I haven't won the national championship, a lot of stuff here I haven't done."

He missed his best chance to play for a BCS title when the Bulldogs' upset bid died at Alabama's 5-yard line in the final seconds of a 32-28 loss in the SEC championship game. But if he leaves college after this season, Jones' legacy will be that he led Georgia to back-to-back SEC East titles in two years before seeking his professional fortune.

Not that he was ready to say he and his veteran defense were already thinking about their draft prospects before facing Nebraska in potentially their final college game.

"First and foremost, I know and these guys know and our coaches know you've got to control what you can control. Right now that's practicing, staying focused here and getting ready for our bowl game," Jones said. "All of our guys are focused and all of our guys know that we want to go out on top. We had a great year, [so we can't] just blow it away now."