Jarvis Jones talks about Pollack, Te'o and Mathieu

semerson@macon.comOctober 30, 2012 

ATHENS - Jarvis Jones smiled when he answered the question: Has he informed David Pollack that Pollack's single-season sack record is going down?

"I think he knows," Jones said on Tuesday.

For awhile Jones had lost pace, but his three-sack effort against Florida put him back on track. It also earned him every national defensive player of the week award, and he was one of only two defensive players - along with Notre Dame's Manti Te'o - to be named a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award.

But here's the twist: Jones and Te'o could have been teammates, at Southern California.

"It was funny. When I went to USC he was supposed to go to USC. He was committed. So that would've been crazy," said Jones, who doesn't remember meeting Te'o. "I've seen highlights of him, when he was coming out of high school. People always talked about him. I think he played like running back and linebacker in high school. So he's always been a good player."

(Whether Te'o was ever officially committed to the Trojans is actually uncertain. But he was quoted recently in The Los Angeles Times as saying he grew up a USC fan and wanted to go there.)

Te'o is getting a lot of Heisman mention. Jones might still be too if he hadn't missed two games with injuries.

"I can't worry about it, because I sat out those games. The only thing I can do is talk about it, and nobody would ever know. So for me, it's going out there and giving everything I've got and take advantage of the opportunities I have now."

Earlier on Tuesday, Georgia head coach Mark Richt issued this high praise for his linebacker: "I can't think of a better player than Jarvis in the whole United States of America. He's the best."

It's not just sacks that's powering Jones right now: He has also forced five fumbles, and to hear him tell it that's no accident. Jones said he was inspired by watching LSU's Tyrann Matthieu last year.

"He was always going for the ball. So for me, on my sacks, or anytime I'm running after the ball I'm trying to get the ball out," Jones said. "Just hitting that arm or getting the tip of that ball. A lot of college players don't hold the ball right, especially when they're making moves."

Jones was asked which of his many stats he values the most. After thinking a bit, he said it was sacks. Jones has 8.5 this season. Pollack, who has said often he is rooting for Jones to break his record, had 14 in 2002.

"But I'm very humble about it. Just keep working towards it, and shoot for it," Jones said. "I mean (Pollack is) a great guy, and I can't take anything from him. He worked tremendously when he was here, he was a great athlete. I'm pushing for it though. I'm coming."

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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