To every offense in the Southeastern Conference, he is more than just “linebacker #29.” He is a force to be reckoned with. If the play doesn’t go according to plan, there’s a very good chance he was behind the disruption. If you don’t know Jarvis Jones by now, you will before the college football season ends.
Jarvis is one of the most passionate players to step foot onto any field. His fiery emotion and beastly tackles remind many of Ray Lewis. As one of the country’s top high school players, Jarvis signed with University of Southern California. You could see his energy from day one, but many had no idea where it came from.
Jarvis plays for his older brother Darcell Kitchens, who was killed in a January 2005 shooting. It was the same night the entire family had planned a surprise party for Darcell. When he never showed, it was a shock to everyone. The death of his best friend took a heavy emotional toll on Jarvis.
The aftermath of the shooting nearly sent Jarvis down a dark path. He began acting out at school and was even suspended for fighting. So much anger and pain was stored inside the young boy and he had no way to control it or process the situation. So he fought.
Thanks to an academic counselor who helped tutor Jarvis and care for him, Jarvis’ life took a different direction. The move to USC after high school helped Jarvis temporarily escape the memories of his brother that continued to haunt him.
During his freshman year, Jarvis sprained his neck during a collision with an Oregon Ducks player. Three different spine specialists cleared him to play but the team was being overly cautious and refused to let Jarvis return to the field. He felt his best interests at that point were to transfer back home, so Jarvis returned to the University of Georgia. After being cleared by a number of medical tests, Jarvis sat out the 2010 season.
In 2011, his first with the Georgia Bulldogs, Jarvis racked up All-American honors and completely dominated SEC offenses. He hasn’t let up at all season. In the September 8 win against Missouri, Jarvis had nine tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, five quarterback pressures, and an interception. It’s doubtful anyone will have a better single defensive game all season.
The past struggles are still with Jarvis, but do not haunt him as before. He realizes they made him the man he is today and ultimately helped put him down a better path than he would’ve gone on his own.
“God blessed me with this opportunity. I’m just seizing the opportunity and giving it everything I’ve got,” he told ESPN. Offenses everywhere best beware.