Offensive tackle John Theus (Jacksonville, Fla./The Bolles School) is the biggest commitment the University of Georgia has for the 2012 class, for several reasons. Yes, the 6-foot-6, 295-pound senior is physically larger than the other commits. He is also the highest ranked, coming in at No. 28 in the ESPNU 150. But his value to the Bulldogs coaching staff doesn’t end there.
“I was told I was the face of the class, which was weird but it made me realize I need to get on some guys,” Theus said. “I talk to Keith Marshall a lot. That is probably the one I talk to the most. I talk to a lot of guys when I am on visits, since you can do a lot more in person than over the Internet. I am definitely trying to get some guys to commit to Georgia with me.”
Theus says he has a specific sales pitch for Marshall.
“I tell him he can come run behind me for four years,” Theus said. “I tell him why Georgia is a great place. I’m not going to try to pressure him and say, ‘You are stupid if you don’t come to Georgia.’ I just tell him why I chose Georgia, what I see in it and what I see in the future.”
The future is key for Theus, who says so long as coach Mark Richt is at Georgia he will remain staunchly committed. Most of the talk of Richt’s uncertain future after starting the season 0-2 has died down in light of the Bulldogs seven straight wins.
“That first loss was ugly,” Theus said. “That second loss was even uglier because they should have won. But the winning streak helps and takes the pressure off. The fans are happier now and people aren’t saying Mark Richt is on the hot seat. So it is definitely a good feeling.”
Theus’ recruiting extends beyond his class as he would like to play with a 2013 running back in Derrick Henry (Yulee, Fla./Yulee). Henry recently told DawgNation that Theus is his best friend.
“He is my big teddy bear,” Henry said.
“Me and Derrick are pretty tight,” Theus said. “We had a couple sleepovers over the summer. We had a lot of fun. It is hard to see each other during the football season since we are so busy. Derrick is my boy and hopefully he will stay strong in his commitment and we will be at Georgia together and we can have a lifelong friendship.”
Being from Jacksonville and nearby Yulee means that the annual showdown between Florida and Georgia has special meaning to Theus and Henry, and this year it was no different. The Bulldogs’ victory over the Gators was a while in coming and Theus was on hand to watch it.
“I was jumping up and down,” Theus said. “We were with the players’ families and Tavarres King’s family was behind us. When he made that catch they went crazy. It was just insane. I looked up behind us and there were fans throwing cups and bottles and I made sure I wasn’t hit by anything.”
Being the most recognizable recruit in the Bulldog class might have saved him from some of the flying debris, but not from well-wishers looking to get a picture taken with the red-haired giant.
“I probably took four or five pictures with fans,” Theus said. “It is neat to be recognized but it wasn’t too bad. This one guy made player cards, like the NFL cards, with pictures of me, with height, weight and committed date. He sent them to me with a return envelope to sign it and return them. I have signed my fair share of autographs as well.”
Georgia is hoping he signs at least one more autograph -- on Feb. 1 -- to a letter of intent.