Nov. 11, 2013
By Jon Cooper
Look up the word “redemption” in the dictionary and you might find a picture of Georgia Tech redshirt sophomore inside linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days.
Hunt-Days is the Yellow Jackets’ third-leading tackler, yet recently he found himself third on the depth chart at ILB. That didn’t sit well with him so he regrouped, went to work more determined than ever and regained his starting spot. He then went to work on the University of Pittsburgh, recording a career-best 3.0 tackles for loss, tripling his TFL total for the season (to 4.5) and recording the first full sack of his young career.
The Pitt game brought back memories of last year’s game at Clemson, the site of Georgia Tech’s game on Thursday, when Hunt-Days recorded 13 tackles, a game-high-tying 10 of them solos, both career-highs.
Sting Daily recently chatted with Hunt-Days about the welcome week off from playing, his unwelcome week off from starting and the rude welcome he’d like to repeat at Clemson.
Hunt-Days Significant Facts:
Games Played: 23
Games Started: 20
First Game: 9/3/12 at Virginia Tech
First Start: 9/3/12 at Virginia Tech
First Tackle for Loss: 9/3/12 at Virginia Tech
Most Tackles for Loss: 11/2/13 vs. Pittsburgh (3.0 for minus-12 yards)
First double-digit-tackles game: 10/6/12 at Clemson (13, 10 solo)
First Sack: 9/14/13 at Duke
First Fumble Recovery: 9/22/12 vs. Miami
First Interception: 9/29 vs. Middle Tennessee State
FIRST DOWN: How have you handled the bye week and is there more of a mental or physical edge?
HUNT-DAYS: Definitely we all needed a little break to get our bodies right, get our minds right, recuperate and get fresh for Thursday. It’s definitely more mental. It’s definitely an advantage go get those days off because those days we had off, they’re still not off-days. We’re treating it as `We still have to beat Clemson.’
Those days are working days even if it says on the schedule that we don’t have practice or anything. We still had guys watching film and trying to learn some different tendencies between our opposing team. It’s kind of going to be the same schedule we took when we played Virginia Tech on a Thursday night. It’s going to be a different type of preparation but these days that we have off are the days that we’re preparing to be better on Thursday night. It will be kind of the same process. Everybody has to be on one court.
SECOND DOWN: The last time you saw Clemson you had your career-high in tackles. Can we expect a repeat performance this time around?
JHD: As a team, those plays were made from everybody else doing their jobs. Approaching this Thursday, whatever happens happens as a team. Whatever plays are going to be made are going to be made either by me or anybody else on the defense or anybody else on the offense. That’s how I look at it. As long as somebody makes the stops and we get the defense off the field and give the offense a chance to score.
THIRD DOWN: In Georgia Tech’s last game against Pittsburgh, you had a career-best 3.0 TFLs and seemed a little extra fired up. Was that the case?
JHD: Really with me, if you go back to the previous weeks, I had a couple of interviews about me, and my time being on the field and somebody stepping up FOR me. That was a challenge to me. So what I had to do was really focus on what my coaches were preparing me to do. Every LITTLE thing was a big thing to them. That’s when I understood and it clicked a little bit. I’m still learning and it’s still a process. So I’m just glad to be out there with my team.
FOURTH DOWN: Georgia Tech is going against Davey O’Brien Trophy semifinalists in two of its next three games in Clemson’s Tajh Boyd on Thursday and Georgia’s Aaron Murray in two weeks. What’s your reaction to that?
JHD: It’s a lot of fun because those guys are guys that you always hear about on ESPN. Those are guys that we look forward to playing. It makes us better.
Get Sting Daily in your e-mail box — it’s free! Just register here to get the latest features on Georgia Tech Athletics.