By John Frierson
Jarvis Jones‘ name was already etched into the Georgia football program’s record book. Now, almost a decade after playing his last down for the Bulldogs, the two-time All-American has something else by his name: University of Georgia graduate.
One of the best linebackers the Bulldogs have ever had, Jones owns the school record of 14.5 sacks in a season, and he ranks third all-time at Georgia with 28 career sacks despite playing only two seasons for the Bulldogs before being the No. 17 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Jones, from Columbus, Ga., played for the Pittsburgh Steelers for four years, starting 35 games, before his career was cut short by injury. After leaving the NFL, Jones returned to UGA in 2019 to finish his degree in Human Development and Family Science. He also returned to the football program, serving as a student assistant coach.
“I think my biggest thing is being here for support. (Football coach Kirby Smart) wanted me to show these guys the ropes, show them how we do it the Georgia way, be around for morale and just keeping the guys together,” Jones said. “It’s been awesome for me because at that time that Kirby called me, I had separated myself from football and I was trying to figure out the next thing I was going to do.”
Who better to serve as a leader and role model to Georgia’s student-athletes than someone like Jones that has seen the highs and lows of the sport?
“It was a great opportunity and I stepped in and really enjoyed it,” Jones said. “I gravitated toward the players and a lot of the guys gravitated toward me. They asked me a lot of questions and I try to give them the information if I know it, and if I don’t I go search for it.”
Being an older student in classes with people a decade younger than him, the 31-year-old Jones has had plenty of life experience to refer to, particularly when it comes to studying Human Development and Family Science.
“We talk a lot about families and kids, and I’m able to share some day-to-day experiences with that stuff,” he said. “They’re learning about it and their lives haven’t really started yet, while I have a family and plenty of first-hand experience with it.”
Jones has made the most of his return to college, earning his degree and leading in the classroom and on and off the field.