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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jones Staying at Georgia

UPDATED WITH RICHT QUOTES

First he was staying. Then Reshad Jones was leaving. Then he just wasn't sure. So in the end, he let the people who have meant the most to him in his life settle things.

The Georgia safety decided Thursday to remain in school for another season to finish his degree, which he is scheduled to earn in December, after a hectic 24 hours of waffling on a decision to enter the NFL draft.

"I was on the fence, on the edge," Jones said. "It was a hard decision to make."

Jones said his grandparents, who have raised him, wanted him to earn his degree, and that was the final motivating factor in returning to school.

"It was mostly after I talked to my grandma and grandad and that was the key," Jones said. "I'm a student first and an athlete second. I think it would make them proud for me to come back and get that degree."

Late Wednesday, Jones said he was leaning toward entering the draft, but by Thursday morning, he still hadn't come to a firm conclusion. Thursday was the final day for underclassmen to declare their eligibility for April's NFL draft.

Jones submitted paperwork to the NFL review committee in November, but said at the time that he was definitely returning to school and was simply looking for objective information on his game. He reiterated those claims Tuesday, but backtracked a day later.

Jones said he did not want to elaborate on what he was told by the review committee, but said had they told him he would likely have been a first-day pick in the draft, he would have left Georgia for the NFL.

Instead, after meeting with coaches and family Thursday, he decided another year in college was necessary, and he said he is fully committed to winning at Georgia.

"I'm proud to be a Bulldog now," he said. "I'm ready to work."

Some quotes from Mark Richt, who seemed a bit defiant with reporters today on a number of levels, even interjecting to point out the team's academic accomplishments as well as the fact that they finished No. 10 in the country. He later said he felt like "the local paper" was playing up negative things about the program by hyping the No. 13 AP ranking rather than the No. 10 Coaches' Poll.

On Stafford and Moreno decision...

With Knowshon and Stafford, for ever indication that I got, they were almost certainly going to be first-round draft picks, and most people said they were going to possibly going to be the highest-rated player at their position. What are you going to tell those guys? It's not like they can improve their draft position.

On Asher Allen decision...

Asher's situation, it was a decision that he and his family made based on the information they got. I hope that it all works out for Asher. I love Asher. He's a great kid and a very fine football player. He's just a hard-working athlete, and he's a good Georgia Bulldog.

On Reshad Jones decision...

The thing about Reshad is he has come a long, long way in his growth as a man and as a student and athlete. In the final analysis I think everybody felt like he wasn't quite finished with what he needed to do to really be ready for the NFL. It seemed like he would benefit the most by staying as far as where it would set him and where he could go. So business was part of it, but at some point, you want to get your degree.

On so many players thinking about leaving, how does that reflect on UGA...

There's nothing wrong with Georgia. There's no one unhappy at Georgia. We've got young men that are extremely talented and have an opportunity to realize their dreams in the NFL. It has absolutely nothing to do with whether they like Georgia or not. You heard Stafford and Moreno. They love it at Georgia, you know what I'm saying? I think Asher Allen loved it at Georgia. But it also comes down to their opportunity to move forward and prepare for their whole lives. It has absolutely nothing to do with whether they like Georgia or not. They love Georgia, and I can guarantee you those guys will be missing it. They're going to be great Bulldogs in life.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Personally I hope he stays and commits to becoming the player he could be. He is no different from anyone else who can always do better. Coaches yelled at me to motivate me to play better.

Anonymous said...

Why does he say "I'm proud to be a Bulldog NOW"? Doesn't that imply that at some point, he wasn't proud to be a Dawg?

David said...

Let's all take a moment - Reshad I hope you are reading this if you read these things at all - to thank you for coming back.

We were really going to be short on experience without you, so I say I'm glad you are staying. We need your leadership and as a fellow Dawg, GATA!

Anyone else want to jump in and second that?

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:49 I was wondering the same thing. I hope Willie scared him a little. He needed it.

Anonymous said...

I think he was humbled by what the NFL told him. Hopefully, he will be that much more hongry (yes, I meant to spell it like that) to reach his potential.

Muckbeast said...

Good luck next season, Reshad!

-Michael
Muckbeast - Game Design and Online Worlds
http://www.muckbeast.com

NM said...

Glad to hear this. I think it would've been a mistake to leave, and I think Asher will find that to be true for him, too (though I hope, like CMR, that I'm wrong and everything goes well!)

Richt is absolutely right on the decisions of 24 and 7 not reflecting on Georgia. What else could they have done to improve their stock? There were obviously team accomplishments left on the table, but individually things would only go down next year (competing with Bradford, McCoy, Tebow, etc; or in Knowshon's case, having another year of wear and tear). It says a lot about Georgia that we get the kind of talent that can leave after 2-3 seasons and be top draft picks.

Anonymous said...

Good move Mr. Jones - glad you are staying.

Kellen Abernathy Rutherford Be Hayve said...

Anon 4:49pm said, and I quote, 'Why does he say "I'm proud to be a Bulldog NOW"?'

I believe it is in the context of he knows that the NFL is still there, he's still at UGA at this moment. I don't believe that it's in the Michelle Obama context.

IveyLeaguer said...

From everything that's been said, it seems clear that Jones has a very high view of himself and his talent and is using UGA to get to the NFL. OK - it's not ideal, you'd rather a player be torn about leaving, as Stafford and Moreno were, but I guess we can live with that. He's not the first player to use college to get to the NFL.

We can't know what the NFL said but it's no surprise Jones did not project to be a first day selection. Had he come out, I would not have been surprised had he been passed over altogether. Hopefully, whatever he learned from the NFL made him think because Jones is self-delusional, IMHO.

One thing we can know, is that a safety in the NFL has to be smart. He has to play smart. The NFL looks for that. Jones has never shown any indication that he is a smart player. In fact, the exact opposite is true. In addition to that, he has not displayed the instinct that all great playmakers have. And if that isn't enough, he's very undisciplined on the field. Bad angles, overrunning plays, stupid penalties, poor fundamentals, these are what stand out on film. Not to mention that the chemistry of the defense has never seemed right since Kelin Johnson graduated.

Weve been spoiled the last 8 years or so because Georgia has been blessed with some really good safeties, and a few great ones. Reshad Jones isn't one of them. I hope he will be. I hope he'll turn everything around and become the player everyone wants him to be. We need him. But can he be that kind of player? Physically he can, but I don't know about the rest. I sure hope so.

Because the NFL is looking for smart, intelligent, safeties who have good instinct - not Boneheads.