- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
ATHENS, Ga. -- With one game left in the season, Jarvis Jones is 1.5 sacks away from matching Georgia’s single-season sack record.
But if it’s up to one of his teammates, Jones won’t hold the record long even if he does break David Pollack’s record of 14 in the Bulldogs’ Jan. 1 matchup against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.
“I told him, ‘Don’t worry. As soon as you leave, I’m breaking your record. You can beat Pollack’s record, but just know that when you leave, that record’s going to be mine,’ ” freshman Jordan Jenkins said.
Although Jones, a two-time All-America junior outside linebacker, says he hasn’t decided whether to return for his senior season, many teammates -- Jenkins included -- concede that they don’t expect him back in 2013. That will leave a much greater pass-rushing burden on Jenkins’ shoulders, and he welcomes the responsibility.
“He can get that [record], but I’m going to break it next year,” Jenkins said. “I’m making it my mission if I don’t get 10 sacks next year, I’m going to make some sort of personal punishment or something. I just know I’m getting 10-plus sacks next season on the dot, no exceptions, anything at all. Going to happen.”
Jenkins made his mark as a true freshman, ranking second on the team with four sacks and 21 quarterback hurries and third with seven tackles for a loss. That ranks well behind Jones’ 12.5 sacks, 22.5 tackles for a loss and 33 quarterback hurries, but Jenkins realizes he made some rookie mistakes that could have helped his stats look even better on paper.
“I felt like I could have had six or seven sacks this year, but I let [Florida quarterback Jeff] Driskel go one time, and I let [Buffalo quarterback Alex] Zordich get outside the pocket on me,” he said. “I’ve just got to finish better on quarterbacks next year and get the sacks that Jarvis had and just help relieve some of the pressure on the defense.”
Jones chuckled when informed of Jenkins’ prediction about stealing his record, but he didn’t deny that it was a possibility. After all, he promised Jenkins’ parents that he would mentor their son, and he did exactly that throughout the season, enjoying a front-row seat as his understudy made an impact of his own.
“I definitely love him like a little brother, and I can’t wait to see him blow up my records and Pollack’s records and whoever’s records that they hold around here because I think he’s capable of doing it,” Jones said. “He’s young, but he understands the game. He’s got a lot to learn, but he still understands the game and I think he’s got one [heck] of a coach -- coach [Todd] Grantham and the rest of our coaches that put him in position to do it, that prepare him and have him ready to do it.”
Jones hasn’t broken any records yet, however. He was half a sack away from Pollack’s mark last season, but failed to take down the quarterback in Georgia’s last two games against LSU and Michigan State and ended the season with 13.5. He picked up two sacks in the SEC championship game against Alabama and now sits 1.5 behind Pollack entering a game against a Nebraska team that averages 27 pass attempts per game.
Jenkins was in a charitable mood when asked about Jones’ prospects for reaching Pollack’s record total. He said he might even help his mentor get there, but the offer came with a warning.
“I think he’s on par to get it and I think he’ll definitely be able to get it maybe against Nebraska. [Heck], I might help him out,” Jenkins said. “If there’s a chance and we’re both there, I might let him have it, just to give him that hope and just know that I’m going to break it next year.”
5dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough