There was no question in my mind that Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones was going to be one of the SEC's top newcomers this season and make a big difference in Todd Grantham's 3-4 defense.
But as Georgia's investigation continues into whether Jones violated NCAA rules while playing AAU basketball in high school, I think we all have questions now about when we'll see Jones on the field for the Bulldogs after transferring from Southern California and sitting out last season.
In speaking with several in and around the Georgia program, the fear is that he could miss at least the first two games, and it just so happens that the first two games this season (Boise State in Atlanta and South Carolina in Athens) could be as important as any two-game stretch to start the season that Georgia has faced under Mark Richt.
Georgia officials said earlier this week that they were nearing the completion of their investigation. And at the very least, the Bulldogs were hoping to know in plenty of time if Jones would be a part of their plans for the opener. Georgia opens preseason practice next week.
The last thing the Bulldogs want to do is go through what they did with the A.J. Green situation a year ago. That deal dragged out far too long, and there wasn't any finality to it until after the season had begun. Only then did Georgia find out that Green would miss the first four games. He was held out of the Bulldogs' opener by the school. The NCAA's ruling came down that next week, and he also missed the next three games.
Jarvis' case has also been a headache for Georgia officials and could get worse. The Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer, which broke the initial story, reported on Thursday that records show that Jones may have also received cash in addition to plane tickets from his former AAU basketball coach.
In short, the more this story develops and the more you talk to people at Georgia, the more it looks like Jones won't be on the field when the Bulldogs open the season.