June 27, 2009

Safety Jones shooting for a big year

He picked off a team-best five passes and is coming off a season where he was named a second-team All-SEC by the Associated Press.

Still, in the eyes of some fans, safety Reshad Jones had an off year.

They point to some key missed tackles against Georgia Tech and a Capital One Bowl game against Michigan State where he was held out a good portion of the Jan. 1 contest in favor of Bryan Evans.

But Jones isn't looking back at the past.

As the Bulldogs continue their summer workouts, Jones said the lessons he learned his first year with the program is something he's going to remember in order to ensure his junior campaign is a complete success.

"I was young immature and selfish. I had to learn the concept of Georgia football," said Jones, who redshirted upon arriving as a five-star performer out of Washington High. "I thought it was all about me. I didn't understand it was bigger than me. It's about Georgia. That's the most important thing."

Although Jones realizes that now, he said it took him a while to get that notion through his head.

"It probably took me that whole redshirt year to get over that," he said. "I know I was wrong to think that but having gone through that made me a stronger man."

And he hopes a better player.

Along with high team goals, Jones has set some individual standards he wants to achieve, including making both the SEC First Team. He wants to be an All-American.

Those were just some of the reasons he decided to remain at Georgia for at least another year after considering to apply for the NFL Draft.

"I had to (come back). I didn't feel my time at Georgia was done," he said. "There was still a lot I wanted to accomplish for this team and for myself. I'm completely focused on getting ready for the 2009 season."

He can't wait for it to get started.

Jones said he's been impressed what he's seen from freshman receivers like Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten and is excited about working with the rest of Georgia's other young safeties that will be pushing for playing time.

That list includes cornerback Branden Smith.

Although they obviously play different positions, Jones is tickled to be playing with the freshman who he played together with when Smith was a freshman at Washington High.

"It's fun being able to play with him again. I've known him for a while and I'm going to do what I can to help him grow as a man and as a teammate," Jones said. "Corners not as hard as safety to learn but Prince (Miller) and I are helping him back there but he's picking the system up well."

He has also been impressed with Evans, who will be starting at free safety opposite of Jones on the strong side.

"Bryan's a hard worker and he's doing what it takes to make himself better," Jones said. "He's gained a couple of pounds to play the safety position. He's played in the system for five years now, so it hasn't been hard for him to make the transfer."

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