FAYETTEVILLE — Throughout Arkansas, you could hear the groans when the beleaguered Razorbacks learned their revised by COVID-19 concerns 10-game all SEC football schedule added nationally No. 4 SEC East champion Georgia and nationally No. 8 SEC East runner-up Florida.

Jerry Jacobs was not among the groaning. Especially regarding the Georgia Bulldogs.

Georgia ended the Georgian from Atlanta’s 2019 campaign with a since-healed major knee injury while defeating Arkansas State in ASU’s third game.

Now a Razorback as a graduate transfer with his ASU degree, defensive back Jacobs celebrates a personal rematch.

Georgia and Arkansas open their season Sept. 26 at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

“Man, I got so happy,” Jacobs said, recalling when the revised SEC schedules were announced. “When I heard we’ve got them the first game I got pumped. I haven’t finished off what I started when I played them last year when I got hurt. I’m ready to show those guys what I’ve got.”

That what Arkansas has suffices to beat Georgia ranks among the longest long shots.

Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs have won SEC East championships the last three years.

They were 2017 national runner-up and last season’s Sugar Bowl champions.

New Arkansas coach Sam Pittman inherits Razorbacks that went 4-8 under Bret Bielema in 2017 then 2-10, 2-10 the last two years under Chad Morris. In the SEC, the Hogs consecutively wallow 1-7, 0-8, 0-8.

Competing with a winning attitude appears a good Arkansas first step.

Jacobs, his coaches and teammates say, arrived with that off Red Wolves teams consecutively 8-5, 8-5.

“Newcomer wise, Jerry Jacobs has been a nice leader,” Pittman said.

Feleipe Franks, the graduate transfer former Florida Gators starting quarterback aspiring to lead Arkansas’ offense, appreciates Jacobs taking a leadership hand with the defense plus directly sharpening the quarterbacks’ skills competing in practice.

“I really like Jerry Jacobs, Franks said. “He’s been playing really well, especially in jam coverage, making those guys work to get off the line. That’s one guy that kind of challenges me a lot throwing the ball.”

They compare leadership and encouragement.

“He’s always in my ear,” Franks said. “I talk to Jerry a lot as well. He’s a really good guy. I think he’s a really good player as well.”

A really, really good play anywhere player, says fellow cornerback Montaric “Busta” Brown.

“He’s very versatile,” Brown said. “He can play safety, nickel and corner. He has got all the tools. And he’s a great teammate.”

New Arkansas defensive coordinator and former Missouri head coach Barry Odom appreciates having Jacobs as a new, old hand.

“He’s been a starter,” Odom said. “Not in this league, but he’s been a starter. That shows up. He’s a savvy football player. He does have some physical-ness to him and he’s got short area quickness. We need him to play both corner spots, and he’s played some at the nickel spot. He’s a guy we’re fortunate we have. He’s worked hard and is going to be a big part of what we do defensively.”

Jacobs arrived at Arkansas not embittered but proud of his old school and those who coached him.

He relishes his ASU degree and seasons with the Red Wolves after transferring from Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College.

Especially, Jacobs appreciated ASU coach Blake Anderson encouraging him through the frustration of last year’s season-ending injury even as the coach weathered the tragedy of losing his wife, Wendy, to breast cancer.

“It was sad watching him go through that,” Jacobs said. “He just showed his motivation and how much he loved the team. That was my best friend, like a father to me at Arkansas State. I love that dude. We still talk to this day even though I came here.”

Jacobs put his name in the grad transfer portal not to get away from ASU but to test himself stepping up from the Sun Belt Conference.

“I wanted to go to something bigger,” Jacobs said. “I always wanted to play in the SEC.”

Jacobs did so rejoining another old mentor, Arkansas’ new linebackers coach.

“I first talked to coach Rion Rhoades,” Jacobs said. “That was my head coach in JUCO (at Hutchinson). You know he played for coach Pittman (when Pittman head coached Hutchinson in 1993). Once I talked to him and he said he had a scholarship offer for me – man – I kicked down the door! I came in as quick as I can. I’m ready to play.”

Razorbacks coaches and players concur that he certainly is.

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