February 7, 2008

Big player, big motor

Ben Jones doesn't like to lose. Make no mistake.

He can credit big brother Clay for that.

The Jones boys were not unlike countless other siblings, as the two grew up in Centreville, Ala. playing games together, tussling around with each other in the backyard at home.

There was just one problem as far as Ben was concerned: Clay always got the upper-hand.

"It didn't matter what sport it was, Clay always got the better of me," Ben Jones said. "He's a lot better athlete than me. Basketball, it didn't matter. Everything we did he always came out on top."

Brother Clay, it turns out, is no slouch, either. In November, Clay Jones signed a baseball scholarship with Alabama after a sparkling two-year career at Shelton State Community College where he helped lead the team to the Alabama State Junior College championship and a fifth-place finish at the Junior College World Series.

"I always had to prove myself against (Clay)," Ben Jones said.

But while the youngest of the Jones boys might put up with losing a backyard scrap to big brother, that doesn't mean the 6-2, 306 pounder takes finishing second lightly.

"I've always tried to win at everything I do. I don't care if it's checkers or cards," he said. "I can't stand to lose at anything."

Neither is he afraid to let his intensity show.

Although he was just a 3-star player according to Rivals.com, head coach Mark Richt said that Jones appears to posses that special "motor," a quality Georgia fans quickly associate with former star David Pollack and current running back Knowshon Moreno.

Sometimes, Richt said, that personality can rub teammates the wrong way.

"Ben goes 110 percent, even in practice. That's the only way he knows," Richt said. "Sometimes, teammates think a guy like that is trying to show off, but that's just how he plays."

Jones agreed with Richt's assessment.

"I guess I am a pretty intense player, but that's the only way I know how to go," Jones said. "Again, that's something I credit my brother for, because he's always pushed me to be the best I can be."

Jones, who chose the Bulldogs over Alabama, Alabama-Birmingham and the Air Force Academy, will get a chance to show just what he can do this spring.

One of Georgia's five early enrollees - Jones will get his shot to battle for the starting center position, vacant after the graduation of Fernando Velasco.

"Coach (Stacy) Searels said it would be up to me," Jones said. "He said I'd have the same chance as everybody else."

Searels told fans at the Butts-Mehre Building Wednesday that left guard Chris Davis would go into spring as the top candidate for the job, along with Ben Harden and Kevin Perez.

"If I could win the job, it would be awesome," Jones said. "I can't even imagine that right now."

Jones, who committed to the Bulldogs on Dec. 7, said he didn't want to waste any time once Georgia offered him the scholarship he craved.

"When you get an offer like that and there are only 25 spots, you want to make," Jones said. "When Georgia offered me, I knew I wanted to go there so I went ahead and committed to make sure I secured my spot. I didn't want to get left out."

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