I was planning on posting a piece on Bacarri Rambo today as a part of our Georgia coverage but a couple of stories broke a few days ago that need to be addressed. The first was a story about Jarvis Jones and Georgia basketball signee Kentavious Caldwell-Pope potentially receiving extra benefits from their time playing AAU basketball. Since this here is a football blog, we will focus on the Jarvis Jones side of this equation.
The story claims that in 2009, after Jones signed with USC, that he received $828.40 for four plane flights (for Shelley Stevens and himself- now that is some cheap airfare!) from his AAU coaches. On the surface this looks pretty damaging to Jones because we all know what happened to A.J. Green last year when he received improper benefits but that situation feels different to me. A.J. knowingly sold his jersey for profit. The Jarvis Jones situation differs in that he had a prior existing relationship with the individuals that he received the money from and it does not appear to be in exchange for anything.
To set the stage a little better, according to the previously linked story, both of the AAU individuals worked for the Parks & Rec department and Jarvis Jones had lived with a member of the Parks and Rec department (who had been employed there for 10 years), Shelley Stephens, after his mother gave her power of attorney over Jones. Here is an article from 2008, before Jones had actually taken any recruiting visits, that actually lists Shelley Stevens as his mother. I'm not privy to the personal life of Jarvis Jones and I'm not claiming to be an expert but this seems like a pre-existing relationship if there ever was one. Information on this is a little hard to piece together right now and I am in no way claiming all of this as fact but I would find it hard for the NCAA to come down on Jones in this situation. Georgia will no doubt investigate this further and report their findings to the SEC and from first glance this looks damaging but I think Jarvis will come out of this ok and without missing any time. Georgia as an institution is no doubt in the clear as this happened while Jones was signed with USC.
The other news is that reserve OL Brent Benedict is leaving the Georgia program for what is being cited as "personal reasons". Benedict is a former 5-star recruit suffered a significant, called catastrophic at the time, injury to his knee as a senior in High School. Georgia stood by their offer to Benedict and brought him on board and red-shirted him last year. Some reports that I've seen have speculated that he is leaving because of the off-season conditioning program. If this is the truth then that would be the second individual who is speculated to leave, the first being Washaun Ealey, because of the new S&C program. The AJC attempted to contact Benedict but he did not return their calls.
This now leaves Georgia with 14 scholarship offensive linemen. Five of these are incoming freshmen and one was signed strictly as a long snapper (out of the five freshman at least one, Xzavier Ward, is expected to red-shirt due to an injury). The line already was thin with the loss of Trinton Sturdivant and A.J. Harmon and now it's dangerously thin. Last year we saw a true freshman, Kenarious Gates, step up and play some meaningful games and put forth some quality starts. I think it's safe to say that if an injuries pop up, and this is football so injuries will pop up, that we will have another freshman playing some important snaps this year for Georgia.