Jarvis Jones declares for draft

ATHENS, Ga. -- If there was any suspense at all about whether he would enter the 2013 NFL draft, Jarvis Jones put it to rest Friday.

Georgia's two-time All-American outside linebacker -- listed by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay among the top-six draft prospects -- will forgo his final season of eligibility in order to turn pro.

"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," Jones said in a university statement.

Jones leads the nation in sacks (14.5) and tackles for a loss (24.5), both Georgia records. In two seasons at Georgia, the USC transfer recorded 28 sacks and 44 tackles for a loss in 26 games.

Jones left USC after suffering a career-threatening neck injury midway through his freshman season, a situation serious enough that the Trojans' team doctors would not clear him to return. Georgia's medical staff determined Jones still could play, however, and he enrolled at UGA and redshirted in 2010.

He was an All-American in both of his active seasons at Georgia and was a finalist for the Bednarik, Lombardi, Nagurski, Butkus and Lott awards this season.

"I will always appreciate the chance Georgia gave me after the injury at Southern Cal," Jones said. "There is nothing like the Bulldog fans and I will forever be proud to wear the 'G.' "

Kiper rates Jones as the No. 1 prospect in the draft in his updated player rankings released Wednesday. He wrote of the Bulldogs' standout: "Explosive, disciplined, relentless edge rusher who profiles as a 3-4 OLB and doesn't need to come off the field. A quick first step, violent hands, tackles well and closes fast. Solid against the run and can really cover."

McShay listed Jones at No. 6 in his most recent rankings, noting that, "He is a good overall athlete and top-notch pass-rusher, has impressive range in pass coverage and against the run, and can line up all over the defensive formation."

It's that ability to contribute in a variety of ways that Georgia defensive coordinator and former NFL coordinator Todd Grantham said will serve Jones well at the next level.

"I've been around some pretty good 'backers -- DeMarcus Ware, (Anthony) Spencer -- and he's definitely up there with those guys," said Grantham, who previously coached with the Dallas Cowboys. "He brings a little different flavor to what he does. He can set the edge in the run game. He's got the ability to rush the passer. He's got some instincts. He can get his hands on balls. He had a pick against Missouri and he actually batted a ball (against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl) in coverage.

"So I think he kind of has his own little flavor and I think he'll be pretty dynamic at whatever he chooses to do."

Georgia will have some major holes to fill on defense next season. Junior linebacker Alec Ogletree announced immediately after the Capital One Bowl that he was going pro, and the Bulldogs also will lose three key seniors: Bacarri Rambo, safety Shawn Williams and nose tackle John Jenkins.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.