NEW YORK (CBSDC/AP) — Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones hugged his likeness, a bust made out of food, and wondered if it would have the “Subway Magic.”
If it does, he figures he could be standing on a stage in February accepting Defensive Rookie of the Year honors from The Associated Press.
Jones will be happy to follow in Robert Griffin III’s footsteps. Griffin also had a statue made of smokehouse barbecue chicken sculpted by artist James Victor. He then had one of the best seasons any rookie quarterback has put together, leading the Washington Redskins from the bottom of the NFC East to the playoffs.
“That’s definitely one of my goals,” Jones said Tuesday at a Manhattan Subway restaurant after playfully posing for photos with the bust that bears a remarkable resemblance. “That would be a great accomplishment to start off my career.”
Jones is a likely top 15 pick, probably the best outside linebacker in this draft. He prefers to go to a team that plays a 3-4 defense, although he isn’t going to be picky.
“I’d rather a 3-4 team because it’s something I know,” Jones said, “but I know I can play a 4-3, too. When it was the 4-3 at Georgia, I didn’t understand the concepts of football as much. I do now, and what I know makes me feel the 3-4 is the best defense for me.
“But I will just be happy to go anywhere and learn and play. I believe I can be whatever a team needs in any (defense).”
He hopes that means becoming a tackling machine like the last two top defensive rookies, Von Miller of Denver and Luke Kuechly of Carolina. And Jones wants his shot at quarterbacks.
“Guys who are legit pass rushers,” he said when asked who he watches in the pros to refine his game. “Von, DeMarcus Ware, Dwight Freeney, John Abraham, Justin Tuck.”
He smiled at the mention of Tuck when someone from Subway suggested that Jones already was a teammate of the Giants’ star defensive end — as “Famous Fans.” In fact, Jones, a regular at the franchise restaurant since he was in middle school, can rattle off all the NFL players involved in the Subway program, including RG3, Tuck, Ndamukong Suh and, originally, Michael Strahan.
Victor, the artist, learned from the experience of sculpting Griffin.
“This was easier in a way because I had a clear idea of what to do,” said Victor, whose wife Marie came up with the idea of using raisins for the dreadlocks; Victor said he was not as pleased with how Griffin’s hair looked in the previous bust.
“I didn’t want to have too much of the same as we had with RG3. I think we did what we set out to do.”
It took more than 1,000 raisins along with other food items such as tomatoes and onions — and, of course, the same BBQ chicken Griffin preferred — and several weeks of sculpting to put it together.
Victor also had done such statues made out of chocolate or cheese for NASCAR drivers Kyle Busch and Terry Labonte, respectively. Subway previously had food statues made of Suh, C.J. Spiller and Mark Ingram.
Jones took a turn behind the counter making a few sandwiches, then looked ahead to Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall.
“It’s something you think about when you first become a football player, being drafted and all, getting to come here to New York,” he said. “Now I need to take my game to another level, to play like the pros.”
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