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Jarvis Jones: What Georgia Gets in the USC Transfer

LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 23: Linebacker Jarvis Jones #10 of the USC Trojans tackles running back Logwone Mitz #34 of the Washington State Cougars on September 23, 2009 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  USC won 27-6.   (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
David MitchellCorrespondent IJune 16, 2010

The effects of Southern California's sanctions for NCAA violations are being felt from coast to coast.

As expected, former USC linebacker Jarvis Jones made his transfer to the University of Georgia official yesterday.

The Trojans' loss is the Bulldogs' gain.

Despite missing the final five games of his freshman campaign and all of spring practice at USC due to a potentially career-threatening neck injury, Jones has been cleared by Georgia doctors to resume his career.

He will likely redshirt during his first season as a Bulldog but could begin the 2011 season as a starter on the Georgia depth chart.

Here is a look at what the bulldogs will get out of this former Carver High School product.

 

Aggressiveness and Tenacity

Assuming Jones' neck injury doesn't have some lasting effects on the way he plays the game, the Bulldogs will enjoy a player who goes full-speed on every play.

New defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will be utilizing a more aggressive 3-4 defense rather than the 4-3 that former coordinator Willie Martinez ran.

At nearly 6'4", Jones' speed and athleticism will be a perfect addition in this scheme as he will help convert the Bulldogs from a "bend-not-break" defense into a ball hawking aggressive unit.

Already stacked at the linebacker position, the Bulldogs will look to Jones to help fill the void of departed linebacker Rennie Curran who helped anchor the unit for three seasons.

Jones' aggressiveness should prove vital to his adjustment to Georgia's scheme.

 

Tackling

It should be a refreshing thought that the Bulldogs defense will be adding a sure tackler like Jones.

Over the past few seasons, tackling has been the Achilles' heel for a defense that has allowed at least 34 points in 10 different games. A number of big plays were allowed when the first, second or third defender came up empty on what, in many cases, should have been an easy tackle.

This won't be Jones' problem.

He is a big defender and moves well for his size. Jone has superior hitting ability which should come in useful when opposing running backs are able to slip through the defensive front.

As Burke Hayes on Scout.com describes it, Jones has great closing speed and "explodes" through  ball carriers.

This is a great remedy to the problems the Bulldogs have experienced in the past.

Although he has superior tackling ability, at middle linebacker, he will also be expected to make a number of plays in coverage. This is one area where Jones' abilities are a bit suspect.

 

Weak Pass Coverage

While Jones is able to consistently make plays when forced to go to the ball—chasing down ball carriers in the flats for example—he is weak when the play comes to him.

This is the case when he is in pass coverage.

In an aggressive 3-4 defense like Grantham will employ, it is important to get strong pass coverage out of all of the players that are not stacking the box. On blitzed, which will be more common in the new system, it is important that the quarterback is not able to find his hot read before the blitzer is able to disrupt the pass.

This will be a key component of Jones' success at Georgia. We know he can hit and we know he is aggressive, but will he be able to make plays when the play comes to him?

If he does, I would expect great success at that position.

If not, then this bull could become more of a Trojan horse for the Bulldog defense.

Personally, I expect the former.

 

David is a member of the Inaugural Bleacher Report Writing Internship program. Follow David on Twitter  for news, opinions and spirited discussion on anything sports.

 

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