ORLANDO, Fla. — Jarvis Jones is within striking distance of overtaking David Pollack in the Georgia record book for most sacks in a season.
Pollack will certainly have a good view, as the Bulldogs’ two-time All-American outside linebacker tries to top him.
He’ll be in the ABC broadcast booth for Tuesday’s Capital One Bowl against Nebraska.
“There are a lot of worse guys in the world that I would not want to break my record, but Jarvis is a quality human being and if he breaks it, it would not bother me in the slightest,” Pollack said.
Jones has 12½ sacks this year, just 1½ away from tying Pollack’s record of 14 set in 2002. The junior needs to ring up two to move past the former three-time All-American defensive end.
“Just to be even within reaching that sack record here at the University of Georgia, so many great players have come and did so much for this school, it’s a great accomplishment for me,” Jones said. “If I get it, I’m going to tell David thanks. It would be wonderful, man.”
Pollack is fourth on the Southeastern Conference career sack list with 36. Jones has 26 in two seasons, putting him fifth on the all-time Georgia list behind Pollack, Richard Tardits (29), Jimmy Payne (28) and Mitch Davis (27½) and tying him with Freddie Gilbert.
Except Jones, all the players on the list played at Georgia for three or four seasons.
Jones has played two after transferring from Southern California, where he wasn’t cleared to play after suffering a spinal injury.
“He’s been very productive obviously,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said Wednesday. “Probably more than we could have hoped for, especially last year just to come off a redshirt year and come off that injury and play the way he did. This year, really, if you just went game-by-game, maybe even more productive.”
Jones didn’t watch college football closely when Pollack was terrorizing SEC quarterbacks for the Bulldogs from 2001-04, but he’s seen clips of Pollack.
“He was a beast,” Jones said. “He’d get after it. Every game he was consistent and he made plays. He was a great player.”
Consider it a mutual admiration society.
“Jarvis is a big-time player and a big-time player in big-time games,” Pollack said. “You think about the Florida game. My God, he just absolutely crushed the Florida game. Two years in a row he’s been a huge impact in the Florida game. You always respect those guys that rise to the occasion and make the biggest plays when your team needs it and he seems to be one of those guys.”
Pollack and Jones haven’t spent much time together, but they’ve joked about Pollack’s sack record on occasion.
“I told him last year after the SEC Championship Game that you need to go out there and get that record,” Pollack said. “At South Carolina this year, he told me he was going to break it this year. Coach Richt’s had fun with me telling me he was going to break it.”
Jones entered last year’s Outback Bowl against Michigan State just a half sack away from tying the record, but didn’t get it. He has put himself in position to do it again in a season when he had two sacks against Missouri, Auburn and Alabama and three against Florida.
“It’s part of the game,” Pollack said. “I’m not comparing myself to Eric Dickerson, but you see Eric Dickerson’s (NFL single-season rushing) record that Adrian Peterson is pursuing. I think you see records every single year that are made to be broken. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jarvis.”
Jones is projected as a first-round draft pick for the 2013 draft and is expected to make the jump this time.
“I’ve got a bunch of teammates that look up to me and that I lead every day,” Jones said. “I’ve got a family that I want to support and a mother that I just want to give the world to, my sister, my nieces, my nephews and the people back in Columbus that support me the most. And the Bulldog Nation as well. I know they don’t want to see me go. Shoot, I wish this could be my NFL career, just play how long I want to play in college and be here every day. … It’s all about just experiencing new things and just growing in life.”
Jones leads all active FBS players in sacks (.79), tackles for loss (2.05) and forced fumbles per game (0.64).
Perhaps he can close out his career the way Pollack did with a monster game with three sacks in a 24-21 Outback Bowl win against Wisconsin to end the 2004 season.
Jones will go up against a Nebraska team that has surrendered 30 sacks this season, second most in the Big Ten.
Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez isn’t talking like he will be in awe of Jones.
“He’s just another football player out there,” Martinez told the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald. “It’s not that big of a deal. That’s just the way you have to look at it.”
Jones could also get Pollack’s tackle for loss record. Pollack had 23 ½ in 2002. Jones has 22 ½ now.
Pollack and Jones are Nos. 1 and 2 in career tackles for loss at Georgia with 58 and 41 respectively.
The single-season sack record is the one that is more talked about.
“Thanks for my teammates and my coaches for preparing me and putting me in the situation to break it, but man, it would be a wonderful, wonderful accomplishment,” Jones said. “At the same time, if we get that win, I’m going to go out just as happy.”