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July 17, 2011
Bolles offensive tackle John Theus said Sunday he originally hadn't planned on committing to Georgia Friday night.
But after getting into Athens on Thursday, spending time at the Butts-Mehre Building, watching workouts and talking to coaches prior to Friday's Dawg Night activities - the five-star performer changed his mind.
He was ready to become a Bulldog.
"I was just looking to compete. I wasn't expecting to commit at all," Theus said. "I was actually telling my parents that I wasn't going to commit, but as the whole process started, sitting in the meeting rooms, talking with the coaches, I just started thinking about Georgia and how it felt good, how it felt like the right fit. That's when I knew that Georgia was the right place.
"I didn't expect to commit, but once we started getting ready to Dawg Night I decided to do it."
Theus cited the family atmosphere inside the Butts-Mehre Building as the program's biggest drawing card.
"The big thing I've always talked about is the family atmosphere that they have there," he said. "I get along with all the players, hanging out and talking with them; it's just one big family, especially with the coaches. They're just fun to be around."
Apparently, Theus kept his intentions under wrap pretty well.
In fact, it was Camden County quarterback Brice Ramsey who was the first to learn of Theus' commitment and not older brother Nathan (a current Georgia freshman). His mom and dad also initially had no idea.
"The first kid I told was Brice Ramsey the quarterback. Then I let my brother know, and my parents know," John Theus said. "He was pretty happy. With him being the quarterback and me being the tackle he was pretty ecstatic. He then told me was going to commit too so we congratulated each other. We were both pretty happy."
It wasn't long after that when Theus learned that friend Derrick Henry and Tramel Terry were also going to commit. That's just what they did; telling head coach Mark Richt that they were going to become Bulldogs.
"I know Derrick pretty well; I don't know Tramel that well, but Derrick definitely committed to Georgia for the right reasons," Theus said. "I think he really loves it here and he told me it's the best fit for him. He's good friends with me and Brice, so that was definitely a bonus."
Telling Richt as a group was something Theus said he will never forget.
"We walked up to Coach Richt and told him we wanted to be the future of the program. He was ecstatic. He was shocked that we all did it together," Theus said. "He had a big ole grin on his face and let out a couple of hollers. We took a couple of pictures and then went and told our position coaches. Everybody was extremely happy and ecstatic about it."
Theus said he chose the Bulldogs over Florida with Texas a distant third.
He said Gators coach Will Muschamp sent him a message on Facebook on Sunday.
"Coach Muschamp sent me a message on Facebook and said they're still going to be recruiting me," Theus said. "That's one of the hardest things because I did build a good relationship with the Florida staff. I like that staff. I've got a lot of respect for them, but in the end I felt that Georgia was the better place for me."
Getting to watch a couple of his future teammates' workouts with strength coach Joe Tereshinski also helped seal the deal for Theus.
He left very impressed.
"One of the things that also helped was Coach T. Getting the chance to sit down and talk with him. They're busting their butts out there and I think it's going to pay off for them," Theus said. "When I went up there and saw how he pushed the guys I realized that it's going to make me better. He's going to make those guys better. He's definitely an old school guy but he also cares about those players a lot. He's a loving guy so I knew when I get up there his weight program, his strength and conditioning program is going to help me get ready to play in the SEC."
It was that "old school" style that appealed to Theus the most.
"The difference to me that I see in my mind is the mental aspect. Coach T is going to push and push. That's the difference I see between the new school and the old school," he said. "There's no bending; it's pushing guys until they can't go no more and that's one of the things I like the most. That's one of the things I get out of my high school coaches and that's what I want from my college coaches as well."
Ironically, it was a disagreement between Tereshinski and Benedict that helped lead to Theus' former high school teammate getting released from his Bulldog scholarship.
Benedict has since resurfaced at Virginia Tech and Theus said on Saturday the two spoke for the first time since he left Georgia.
"I talked to him for the first time on the phone yesterday and I'm extremely happy for Brent. We've got a great relationship and I think he's going to do great there," he said. "We'll still stay in touch and stay very good friends."
Still, Theus said he's glad his buddy is Hokie and not a Gator.
"It is better, especially since its (Jacksonville) is our hometown," Theus said. "I definitely don't mind the competition but I'm glad for our friendship that it didn't happen."
Theus main focus now is getting Georgia's 2012 class as much help as he can.
"That's one of the biggest things I'm going to try to do now. I went and talked with Jordan Jenkins after Dawg Night was over. I'm going to try and keep up with him and some other guys," he said. "I'm going to help Georgia just as much as I can and get the best guys that I can."
North Carolina running back Keith Marshall - who most assume is Georgia's top target at running back for 2012 - can certainly expect a few calls.
"Oh yes, for sure. He's one of if not the best running back in the nation," Theus said. "The coaches expressed to me how bad they want him and how bad we need him so I'm definitely going to keep in touch with him and get him to commit as well."
As for his impending career with the Bulldogs, Theus promised to do the Bulldog Nation proud.
"It's great to be a Georgia Bulldog and I think they've got one of the best fan bases in the nation. I thank them for the support," Theus said. "Everybody has been congratulating me on Facebook and it means a lot to me. I'm going to be honored to wear the G on Saturday. I'm going to do my best to live up to that and give it all I have."