ATHENS - It's been a foregone conclusion for awhile that Jarvis Jones will turn pro, and the Georgia linebacker has now made it official.
Jones, predicted by many analysts to be a very high pick in this April's NFL draft, announced Friday that he was bypassing his senior year.
“This has been a difficult decision, and one that I have talked over with my family and coaches,” Jones said in a statement released by UGA. "I want to thank my family, teammates, coaches and support staff and the Bulldog Nation for everything over the last three years. I will always appreciate the chance Georgia gave me after my injury at Southern Cal. There is nothing like the Bulldog fans and I will forever be proud to wear the 'G'.
"I think this decision comes at the right time for me and my family and I look forward to seeing what the next level holds for me. Go Dogs!"
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Jones was a two-time first-team All-American for Georgia, and now holds the school record for sacks in a season. He set the record in the Capital One Bowl, passing David Pollack, who saw it happen in person while calling the game for ABC.
Jones finishes his Georgia career with 28 sacks, tied for third in school history - despite playing only two seasons. He also had 44 tackles for loss of 235 yards, 155 total tackles, nine forced fumbles and an interception during his time as a Bulldog.
Jones joins fellow linebacker Alec Ogletree in declaring for the draft soon after the end of the season. Ogletree declared for the draft after Tuesday's win over Nebraska.
Georgia coaches have also been planning for his departure. Jones has been telegraphing the decision for months, saying he loved being at Georgia, but adding that he wants to provide for his family.
"I've got a family that I want to support, and a mother I just want to give reward to. My nieces and nephews. And the people back in Columbus that support me the most," Jones said in early December. "It's all about just experiencing new things and growing in life. And that's how you've got to look at it. I'm sure if I stayed things would be great. If I leave, things will be great."
Last week Jones said that if he declared he wanted to be the overall No. 1 pick.
"I'm not gonna train to be in the top 10 or the top five. I'm gonna train to be the No. 1 draft pick," Jones said.
The team is still awaiting the decision of quarterback Aaron Murray and nose tackle Kwame Geathers. Both players, like Jones, are fourth-year juniors.
Murray said during ESPN's pregame show on Thursday night that he received a draft grade of "second or third round" from the NFL draft advisory committee. Geathers was given a similar projection by ESPN analyst Mel Kiper in December.
The deadline to declare for the draft is Jan. 15.