Take it from a Florida Gator: I know all about former Georgia Bulldog Jarvis Jones.
Granted, my knowledge of him has mostly been from the other side (which often involved curse words, tears and much bemoaning over beer). This 6-foot-2, 245-pound beast of a man has been wreaking havoc on college offenses, so I’m excited to see what this SEC graduate can bring to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Let’s take a look at some aspects of Jones’ very impressive resume. Last season, Jones earned All-American first-team honors from he NFL Draft Report, Walter Camp, Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association, Sporting News and Phil Steele. He acted as the Bulldogs’ permanent captain and was a finalist for the Lombardi trophy. Over the course of his career at Georgia, he put up 28 sacks, tying Jimmy Payne (1978-82) for third in school history.
Impressive, eh? And that’s just a taste.
But it’s not just the stats that he will inevitably bring to the Steel Curtain. The intangibles he will bring will undoubtedly help to fill the large shoes left by James Harrison. In fact, when asked what he and Harrison have in common, Jones said they both play “relentlessly.”
This is where I think his experience playing for a top team in the SEC will prove to be key. The SEC is, arguably, the most difficult conference in college football, and he excelled. But the SEC isn’t just difficult because the teams are tough. For those of you who are not familiar with the South: they take their football very seriously. There is an enormous amount of pressure put on college football programs, coaches, and players not to just win, but to be the absolute best. And they often deliver. The players that come out of the SEC tend to come out skilled, big and tough because of it.
Does that mindset sound familiar, Steelers fans? It should. Because if a “culture of winning that produces skilled, big, and tough players with devoted fans” doesn’t describe the Steelers, I don’t know what does.
So welcome to Pittsburgh, Jarvis. You’ll look good in black and yellow.