The Georgia outside linebacker moved up to No. 1 on Mel Kiper’s “Big Board” of NFL prospects this week ahead of Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley. He’s also No. 1 on the list of draft prospects by Todd McShay of Scouts Inc.
“I’d be excited for Jarvis to get drafted that high,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said Wednesday of the fourth-year junior. “It’s just a matter of when. That day comes, I’ll be the first one to be genuinely thrilled for him.”
Kiper writes that the “Georgia star can really do it all on defense. He’s the most relentless pass-rusher in the country, a guy who closes fast and must be planned for. He now excels against the run and will drop into coverage and use his instincts and athleticism there. You’ll hear comparisons to guys such as Von Miller, and for now, it’s all fair game. He’s that kind of talent.”
Jarvis Jones showing against Missouri—two sacks, two forced fumbles an interception and nine tackles—“turned plenty of heads,” according to McShay.
Jones practiced again in a regular jersey on Wednesday. Richt said Jones got work against the scout team. Jones said a day earlier that he would play Saturday against Vanderbilt. Richt didn’t go that far.
“I would say we’re hopeful I guess is the best way,” Richt said. “I always say we’re hopeful, but I’m hopeful he’ll feel healthy enough to go. I’m not 100 percent sure he will be.”
Other Georgia players are also regarded highly as draft prospects.
Nose guard John Jenkins is No. 13 on Kiper’s list and No. 5 on McShay’s. Inside linebacker Alec Ogletree, who has yet to play a game this season due to suspension, is McShay’s No. 19 prospect and safety Shawn Williams is No. 29.
Lee could play, may not start
Georgia may have the first change to its starting offensive line this season.
Left guard Dallas Lee has a “good chance” of playing Saturday after spraining his left ankle against Florida Atlantic, but Richt said that’s not a guarantee and if he does play, he may not start.
Georgia could start junior college transfer Mark Beard at left tackle and move Kenarious Gates to left guard. That was the lineup on the left side of the line after Lee’s injury.
“I think you’d have to measure a gimpy Lee compared to a healthy Beard,” Richt said. “What do you do? Even if he’s given the OK to go, he still may not. If he starts he may rotate more than normal because Beard played good enough to prove that he can get around so we may rotate around and take some pressure off that ankle.”
Gates, Lee, center David Andrews, right guard Chris Burnette and right tackle John Theus have started the first three games.
Beard realizes there’s pressure in protecting Aaron Murray’s blind side, but he said left tackle is the only position he’s played since pee wee football
As for starting, Beard said: “You can get the first jitterbugs out faster. The guys (starting) already have had contact. Their butterflies are gone, but you still have yours.”
Richt said that freshman John Theus continues to work strictly at right tackle.
“The assignments wouldn’t be as much of an issue as just learning how to pass set from the left side,” Richt said. “He’s got so many quality reps on the right, it’s hard to throw a guy over there, especially as a freshman. I don’t know if he’ll change to left ever, but there’s more of a chance of getting him some reps in the spring and that type of thing if you want to at least experiment.”
Vanderbilt’s talent upgrade
The 16 1/2 points Georgia is favored by over Vanderbilt is one indication the perceived gap between the programs still remains rather large, but Richt is talking up the state of the Commodores program under second-year coach James Franklin.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that they’re the most talented Vanderbilt teams these last couple of years that we’ve played in a while,” Richt said. “Coach Franklin’s really got them revved up and ready to go. They’ve got a lot of belief. They’re playing to win and they’re doing a good job of it I think.”
They might be playing to win, but the Commodores are 1-2, 0-1 in the SEC, losing to a top-10 South Carolina team, dropping a game at Northwestern and routing FCS program Presbyterian.
“I think some of it is attitude,” Richt said. “I think they’re a faster team, I think they’re a stronger team. I think they’ve got really good athleticism. When you watch the film, they’re playing as hard and fast as physical as anybody. They’re schemes are outstanding. It’s not like they’re doing something that nobody else is doing, but what they do, they do very well. They believe in it. You can see that. Coach Franklin’s not afraid to take calculated risks to put his team in position to win games. I think it’s paying off.”
This and that
Asked if there was any new update on offensive lineman Kolton Houston, Richt said: “Still the same,” Richt said. “Yeah, still the same.” The NCAA has ruled Houston ineligible for continuing to test positive for a banned substance.
Offensive lineman Watts Dantzler (ankle), outside linebacker Josh Dawson (shoulder), outside linebacker James Deloach (shoulder) and receiver Rantavious Wooten (knee) were limited in practice.
Franklin said Wednesday morning that coaches had yet to make a decision on whether Austyn Carta-Samuels or Jordan Rodgers would start at quarterback Saturday.