Jamon Dumas-Johnson keys Georgia defense against TCU, ‘better than Nakobe Dean’
LOS ANGELES — It does not take long to determine Jamon Dumas-Johnson is the ideal kind of no-nonsense leader for Georgia football.
Johnson, or, “Pops” as he’s known to his teammates, brings the pain on the field as a pass rusher and run stuffer from his middle linebacker position.
Johnson is just as direct off the field, as he proved once again during the Bulldogs’ CFP media day on Sunday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
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“Coach Smart first said it, we didn’t build this program to be a one-hit wonder,” Johnson said. “It’s not no new Alabama — this is Georgia football.
“We’re just coming up, staying the course and standing who we are. We do what we do, we just keep chopping at the end of the day.”
The Bulldogs will end their season at 7:30 p.m. on Monday at SoFi Stadium against TCU in the CFP Championship Game.
The 6-foot-1, 245-pound Dumas-Johnson leads Georgia in tackles-for-loss (9) and sacks (4), and he ranks third with 66 tackles.
“I think he’s actually better than Nakobe Dean,” SEC Network analyst and former Super Bowl champion Roman Harper said.
Dean, of course, was the Butkus Award winner last season and the brain center of an epic Georgia defense that featured five first-round NFL Draft picks.
Harper, who played at Alabama, knows what he sees in Dumas-Johnson.
“He’s bigger, the dude has just as much speed,” Harper said, “and if you watch, this guy is flying around sideline to sideline making very single play.”
Dumas-Johnson often has direct angles of pursuit thanks to the strong defensive line play in front of him, led by All-American Jalen Carter.
“The Georgia defense, you hear Kirby say it, physical football travels,” Harper said. “They hit people with body shots.
“Teams don’t want to see Georgia in the fourth quarter because of the way they play, and the way they hit you. It’s a never-ending wave of relentless play.”
Dumas-Johnson is in the middle of all of it, bringing a different level of intensity.
“To play this sport, you have to be physical,” Dumas-Johnson explained. “But certain people — and you know who the people are — play violent. Two different things.”
Dumas-Johnson’s big hits keep his teammates fired up, and so do his comments in the huddle and the locker room.
“If you don’t have a voice in that inside ‘backer room, it ain’t going to work for the defense,” Dumas-Johnson said, taking his cue from Dean, who learned to become a vocal leader from Tennessee Titans linebacker and former Bulldogs Monty Rice.
“I think everyone respects us because they know what we do, and they know what we have to do.”
It was Dumas-Johnson coming up with a key sack against Ohio State in the fourth quarter of the Bulldogs’ 42-41 win.