John Denton's Knights Insider

Oct. 9, 2009

By John Denton

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UCF defensive end Jarvis Geathers had the game of his life three weeks ago, sacking Buffalo's quarterback three times, forcing two fumbles and sealing a win for the Knights with his fourth-quarter pressure.

Geathers father, former NFL defensive end James ``Jumpy'' Geathers, didn't attend that game because Jarvis asked him not to come because he had played poorly the week before against Southern Miss.

When Geathers called home following his standout performance against Buffalo, the reaction was one of expectation instead of elation. In a family full of standout pass rushers, greatness is not only expected, but also demanded from the UCF senior defensive end.

"He told me that I did all right, but it was mainly just tough love," Jarvis said of his conversation with his dad, James. "That's just how I was raised."

Greatness is expected in the Geathers family when it comes to football. James played in the NFL for 13 seasons and won a Super Bowl ring with the Washington Redskins. His brother, Jeremy, starred defensively at UNLV. And his cousin, Robert Geathers, currently plays for the Cincinnati Bengals after a stellar college career at Georgia.

And even though Jarvis is a senior, the Geathers' legacy of rushing the passer will continue at UCF after this season. Jarvis' cousin, Clayton Geathers, a South Carolina star high school player, has already verbally committed to UCF.

The "tough love" that Geathers grew up with helped him escape the enormous shadows in his football family and become a standout pass rusher at UCF. Even though Torrell Troup and Bruce Miller are the most decorated players along UCF's defensive line, it's Geathers who is tied for the team lead in sacks with 4.5. That ranks him tied for 18th in the country in sacks where he is joined by Miller. Geathers' combination of speed, strength and agility make him a stellar rusher off the edge and have helped UCF's defense make great strides this season.

With the University of Miami and star quarterback Jacory Harris dead ahead for UCF on Oct. 17, the Knights are focused on finding ways to get to the passer and disrupt the Hurricanes' offense.

Geathers' growth has helped UCF's defense become one of the nation's most solid defensive units. UCF ranks 33rd in the nation in sacks (2.4 a game), 40th in scoring defense (20 points per game) and 49th in total defense (340.4 yards per game). Geathers feels UCF is starting to prove itself to teams around the country that it is a shutdown defense, and another strong showing against Miami would further cement that reputation.

"I think people are starting to see now what a dominant defense that we can be as long as we stay together and play how we know we're capable," Geathers said.

Geathers said few knew what he was capable of as a high school athlete because he was often overshadowed by his talented siblings and cousins. He attended Feather River Community College in California after a prep career in South Carolina, but he ended up at UCF because of advice given to him by his father.

"I talked to my father and told him there were a lot of really good players at UCF already," Jarvis remembered. "He told me that I should want to go to a school that has a lot of competition because that would make me a better player."

That's clearly happened now. He had 5.5 sacks as a junior and he's easily on his way to surpassing that mark in his senior season, one that could very well get him a look by NFL teams after college. He said he certainly feels the pressure to represent his family name and still seeks out the advice of his father after each game.

"He comes to the games and tells me what I'm doing wrong and what I need to work on," Jarvis said of his father. "My name, I have to represent that and I'm playing for myself too as Jarvis. And I have to represent UCF's defense too. Really, every time you are on the field you have to represent everything that you stand for."

John Denton's Knights Insider appears on U CFathletics.com every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. E-mail John at jdenton@athletics.ucf.edu.