It’s an added bonus that the move probably will help Jones, too.
“I think if he has a chance to play in the NFL, that’s where it’ll be,” Coach Mark Richt said.
Nick Jones, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound senior from Bowdon, started five games at center as a true freshman but moved to guard for his sophomore and junior seasons. He has started a combined 24 games there the last two years. (Among current Bulldogs, only offensive lineman Dan Inman has more career starts.)
Jones always was an oddity at guard, a guy who’s never played heavier than 300 pounds at a position where that’s considered dainty. Consider that his fellow starter at guard last year was Max Jean-Gilles, who topped 350 pounds. This year’s projected starters, Chester Adams and Fernando Velasco are north of 320.
“I guess a more prototypical position for a guy my size would be center,” Jones said.
Opponents, and even new teammates, tend to underestimate Jones because of his size, said defensive tackle Ray Gant.
“He plays above what you see,” Gant said. “He’s definitely not one of the biggest guys on the field, but he definitely has one of the biggest hearts. He’s going to claw and battle, and he’s not going to quit. Nick’s a little Tasmanian devil in there.”
Jones also fits the intellectual and leadership requirements at center. The risk management and insurance major was chosen by Richt to represent the Bulldog offense last month at SEC Media Days, a sure sign that Richt didn’t want to throw one of his four quarterbacks into the fray but also of Jones’ status in the locker room.
“Nick is our leader offensively really,” Richt said. “He’s the strongest guy we’ve got right now as far as a guy who’s kind of earned the respect of his teammates from the very beggining."