UGA 5-star OL recruit John Theus returns from Notre Dame visit, feeling better about Richt’s future

Do you feel Mark Richt is "on the hot seat" after winning five in a row after an 0-2 start?

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UGA’s No. 1 recruit is not hearing as many negative things about the Bulldogs and Mark Richt’s future after they recovered from an 0-2 start with five straight wins.

“You don’t hear as many people these days saying ‘Oh, Mark Richt is on the hot seat,’” said John Theus, the 5-star offensive lineman from Jacksonville who committed to UGA last summer.

“It was really intense when they were 0-2 but they had played two good teams. Now that Georgia is 5-2, not as many people are saying things like that, which is really nice. Hopefully, they have a chance to win out the rest of their games. Hopefully that can happen and Coach Richt’s job can be pretty secure.”

Flashback to six weeks ago: The 6-foot-6, 290-pound Theus was hearing so much speculation about UGA after the 0-2 start that he agreed to take an official visit to Notre Dame. Theus made the recruiting trip to South Bend last weekend to see the Irish play USC.

“Notre Dame has been recruiting me hard ever since the beginning; I told them ‘As long as Coach Richt is at Georgia, I’m a Bulldog,’” Theus said. “I was upfront and honest with them. They still wanted me to go there and take an official visit in case something happened, which I did.”

UGA 5-star OL commit John Theus

UGA 5-star OL commit John Theus

Before word got out, Theus called Richt personally to let him know about the impending visit to Notre Dame. “I wanted him to hear it from me before he found out about it somewhere else, and to let him know I was still committed to Georgia and everything,” Theus said. “He was happy that I called and told him. He told me to go up to Notre Dame and have a good time.”

So how was Notre Dame last weekend? “The game was electric and crazy,” Theus said. “It was a cool atmosphere. Probably another main thing was, Notre Dame was definitely the prettiest campus I’ve ever seen. It was beautiful. It was a lot of fun to be up there and see all the traditional and historic places.”

What about Florida? The Gators haven’t given up recruiting Theus since he committed to Georgia. “I will probably go to the Florida-Florida State game. I don’t know yet whether it will be an official or unofficial visit. It will probably be an unofficial. I have to sit down with my family and talk about it, see what I have planned with [my high school team]. I know it’s during our playoffs.”

Theus has been to every UGA home game this year, and also attended the opener against Boise State at the Georgia Dome. This Saturday, he will go watch Georgia-Florida a few miles down the road in his hometown of Jacksonsville.

“”This will be my second year going to Georgia-Florida, and it’s nice to not have to drive that far to see Georgia play,” Theus said with a laugh. “That game being in Jacksonville didn’t have anything to do with my decision to sign with Georgia but it’s definitely a bonus. It’s going to be nice to come back home every year, especially with my brother [UGA freshman long snapper Nathan Theus]. We’ll have eight tickets each year, and it will be a big time for our friends and family. It’s definitely a benefit to come home every year to play in a stadium that I grew up watching the Jacksonville Jaguars play in.”

After an 0-2 start, Mark Richt has led UGA to five straigh wins (AJC)

After an 0-2 start, Mark Richt has led UGA to five straigh wins (AJC)

What about Theus’ official visit to UGA? The Bulldogs are trying to host the majority of their top prospects on Dec. 9-11, the same weekend at UGA’s football gala. “I know I’m going to take mine after my high school season, but I haven’t scheduled it yet,” Theus said. “Hopefully, it won’t be that Dec. 10 weekend because that’s the  same time the state championships are scheduled. Hopefully I won’t be able to make it because we’re playing in the state championship, and I will visit Georgia instead in January.”

Other than winning a state title as a senior, Theus has one other main goal: To convince other elite prospects to join him at UGA. There are two in particular. Said Theus, “Definitely two of the bigger recruits we need the most would be, of course, Keith Marshall [5-star tailback from Raleigh, N.C.]. Everybody knows about him. That kid can fly. He’s a good kid. And I’ve love for us to get another offensive lineman from my state of Florida, Avery Young [of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.]. They are  both good guys and good football players. Hopefully, both of them will join me at Georgia.”

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

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115 comments Add your comment

freedyg

October 26th, 2011
1:55 am

cmdawg99

October 26th, 2011
3:58 am

BigGAdawg

October 26th, 2011
4:26 am

Good to see that he is still dialed in as a solid recruit for UGA. I hope he is successful in helping recruit the two he mentioned. I understand that Marshall is very interested in being a Bulldog. Crowell is good but may not be as durable as one would hope. Having Marshall also would really be tremendous.

I was not familiar with Avery Young but I looked at his highlight clips on You Tube and he looks like a young man we would be happy to have on the OL. These two plus the “Finisher.” Go Dawgs! WOOF!

59bulldawg

October 26th, 2011
4:37 am

I want John Theus to come to Athens very badly. We need talented offensive linemen. But McGarity’s first concern should be the players already in Athens when deciding whether to retain Richt and not those who might not sign with us because he is no longer the coach.

Lagdawg

October 26th, 2011
4:45 am

He’s commited to CMR, not UGA.

Big Dawg

October 26th, 2011
5:06 am

Lagdawg,

Then he has his priorities mixed up because his main focus should be going to a college where he can develop both academically, in case his NFL aspirations don’t pan out, and physically to go onto the next level. Anyways I hope the young man stays committed to the Dawgs whether Coach Richt is there or not.

Go Dawgs

Columbus

October 26th, 2011
5:11 am

Theus is a Dawg as long as Richt is coach, just like most other recruits. Period. Case closed. No Richt, lose 75% of recruits.

Marshall seems to be 50/50 of coming to UGA. He doesnt want to be overworked in college and his body taking a beating so would not be discouraged by Crowell. I agree, at this point in his career, Crowell is not strong enough to run as well late in the game as he does early, or either he has nagging injuries flaring up in the 2nd half. That only makes it a better situation for Marshall.

If Avery came with Theus, UGA would likely have the best OL in the league in 2 years….that would be significant progress because that has been a weakness for various reasons the last 4 years or so…

Go Dawgs! Go Richt! Come on to UGA guys. Bring home a NC! Support a great coach and man and when one for him! He deserves it more than most coaches in the nation, thats for sure!

Columbus

October 26th, 2011
5:18 am

Ummm…..Richt IS going to be coach next year and the next 15 if he wants to be you dopes.

This is the decade of the Dawgs. The Dawg has turned. Richt is not getting fired, he will weather the storm. I told you that in January! Sheesh! You guys are SLOW……..! get on th train if you can still catch us! We ahve left the station brothers! You better run! Going to the SEC title game this year. Going to win it in 2012 and 2013 and 2015! 2016, 2017!

The question then becomes, which year will be the first NC year? 2012 or 2013? Thats right I said it!

jim

October 26th, 2011
5:25 am

5 star class act.

southbendsam

October 26th, 2011
5:25 am

Interesting comment about the Notre Dame campus. If visiting there in the late fall or winter, it’s the ugliest campus in football. Bare, stark, filthy, and just plain nasty.

Wes Durham's Gigantic Bottom

October 26th, 2011
5:42 am

It’s also interesting to hear that Richt told Theus to go to Notre Dame and have a good time….compre that to Paul Johnson who tells kids he will yank the offer from them…..CPJ is a jerk.

Richt

October 26th, 2011
6:48 am

Hot seat check
Johnson- “warm”
Spurrier- “warm”
Mullen-”hot”
Dooley-”smoking hot”
Nutt-”blazing hot”
Muschamp-”fire hot, I think it left a mark”

Paddy

October 26th, 2011
6:52 am

southbendsam………your statement about ND in the winter would be true about any campus in the midwest in wintertime. I have only been to ND football games 3 times over the years but it was not filthy and nasty like you describe.The pomp and circumstance of football Sat.is by far the best in the country. Sounds like you have a grudge!

By the way, U. of Notre Dame is not in South Bend, In. You do know that, right?

JAWJeRDAWG

October 26th, 2011
7:05 am

I know some will say this comment is stating the obvious, but it is what it is and I understand that:

It appears that John Theus’, and other’s approach to a UGA recruiting commitment IS dependent upon Coach Richt being retained.

Unless a recruit is a born-and-bred Dawg and has always wanted to play for Georgia, UGA has to overcome the appeal of the most recent winning programs in the SEC like UA, LSU, AU, even UF and even other nationally perceived powerhouses like ND, USC, etc.

Right now, Coach Richt and recruiting staff are getting some of that appeal just because of who CMR is.

Others programs are certainly using Coach Richt’s perceived instability as a recruiting tool again Georgia.

Losing Coach Richt will definitely have an impact on our recruiting efforts as many of our recruits have / are commiting to him and not the university.

Hope CMR’s coaching stability gets sorted out ASAP where we can move forward with some certainty in our recruiting and get the recruits for our positions-of-need. ..

Go Dawgs! and beat the Gators!

lilburndawg

October 26th, 2011
7:25 am

and cue Tide Roll in 5..4..3..2…1…

DostaDawg

October 26th, 2011
7:34 am

Really hope Dawgs get a couple rbs. I also thank Ga. will flip 2-3 other players already verbally committed(see bama).

dap01

October 26th, 2011
7:37 am

He is a true Dawg! He is a leader. Wow.

JAWJeRDAWG

October 26th, 2011
8:05 am

This is the truth:

In MHO, if CMR is extended a long-term contract and stability is seen withing our program’s coaching staff, recruits like John Theus WILL recruit other similarly talented recruits to come to Georgia!

Similar to what we say within the Dream Team’s signing class.

Go Dawgs! and Beat the Gators!

JAWJeRDAWG

October 26th, 2011
8:06 am

correction: not saY, but saw within..

And then there were none

October 26th, 2011
8:12 am

Here is where the future begins. If Richt is retained, we most likely retain all of our recruits for 2012. If he isnt retained we probably loose the the ones who are committed as long as Richt is there. Thats gonna affect recruiting for years. You talk about having some bad years. I see it taking 3-4 years to rebuild. And thats if we hire someone whos worth a few million. And who is gonna come to Georgia knowing all the while you loose early, youre head is on the chopping block. Richt needs to stay, and given the chance to right the ship. Its already started, the Dawgs are back.After we win Saturday, the tide turns, and we land the recruits we want. Even a few that may seem to be going elsewhere, will come home in the end. WIN, AND THEY WILL COME! But without Richt, it gets ugly. None.

Old Boy

October 26th, 2011
8:18 am

The more I read about this kid, the more I like him. I don’t know if Coach Richt will be here next year or if John will be here next year, but I hope this kid has a bright career, wherever he goes (please don’t let it be UF).

gdawginkalamazoo

October 26th, 2011
8:23 am

John, yes ND has a beautiful campus for 6 months out the year. Wait until Dec thru say May it is cold and loaded with snow. Trust me 32 degrees “leave your faucets dripping” in the South is not cold weather. 5 degree with minus 15 wind chill IS cold.

BobDawg

October 26th, 2011
8:29 am

Some good posts here…. Winning cures everything…

gdawginkalamazoo

October 26th, 2011
8:30 am

Good to see a stand up kid with a bright future in front him making a commitment and sticking to it.

BobDawg

October 26th, 2011
8:32 am

@ kalamazoon.. I went to ND on a work trip and their facilities seemed almost like a 1AA deal.. I was expecting alot more.. It is not a very big school either…

WDE

October 26th, 2011
8:48 am

Love the way the young man is up front with everyone, character can’t be coached and it seems he has it..good young man ! Go Dogs!

coachx

October 26th, 2011
8:53 am

Thanks for the info MC.

Does Keith Marshall have UGA in his top 3 ? I know we were one of his 1st visits at the South Carolina game.

He just had a visit to Florida to see them get smacked really good. Hopefully if UGA can give the Gayturds their 4th smack down in a row it will make him a UGA believer.

Bama in Atlanta

October 26th, 2011
8:55 am

If you just want a beautiful campus go to Pepperdine. If you want top quality football, a solid education and the most beautiful coeds in the world go to an SEC school.

Hire Buck Belue

October 26th, 2011
9:05 am

We need a better offensive coordinator. Bobo should go back to focusing on QBs.

jack handy

October 26th, 2011
9:08 am

@coachx–Marshall is our to lose. If CMR stays, he is a Dawg.

Matthews Dawg

October 26th, 2011
9:20 am

Why do people spell the word “lose” (meaning a loss), loose? That is loose (meaning something that is not tight). I’m not the best speller in the world, but there are a lot of people who butcher this word. Sorry, it was and is driving me crazy. Now back to UGA blogging! Go Dawgs

Package Deal

October 26th, 2011
9:26 am

John’s brother Nathan was part 1 of a 2 part package deal. John is committed to UGA and will come. The only thing breaking the package deal apart is Richt being fired. It’s not a bad thing and he is covering his butt by looking at other schools in case Richt is canned. However, Richt won’t be canned and Theus will be in the RED & BLACK next year!!

roughrider

October 26th, 2011
9:27 am

@ Matthews Dawg: Are you the English and spelling teacher for the blog ?

suwaneedawg

October 26th, 2011
9:28 am

If we want to set our football program back 4-5 years then get rid of CMR. If we want to accept that this years team is young but, very talented and has a bright future ahead then do NOT base his job retention on this year. I want to see us beat Florida as bad as the other Dawg fans but, I will not be walking around Jacksonville after the game screaming to fire CMR if we lose. No responsible Dawg fan should either. Problem is there are not many responsible Dawg fans right now according to the posts on sights like this daily.

Flo-Ri-Duh

October 26th, 2011
9:39 am

John Theus and Avery Young are two of the best 5 OT’s in the country and UGA needs both of them to return to the dominant run game they once had. Marshall is very elusive and fast. Alternate him with Crowell behind that o-line and the running game will be the best in the SEC in a couple of years. We still need another deep threat WR to go along with Mitchell. Arthur Lynch will be one of the best TE’s in the country next year. He is a dominating physical specimen that has not been given a chance to show what he can do yet because he is behind Charles and Aaron White. Aaron Murray will be challenged for the starting position by LeMay at QB. L eMay has amazing accuracy on his passes and a beautiful deep ball. On defense corner back will be a priority along with DE.

JB

October 26th, 2011
9:43 am

The way I see it, Richt would have to lose to Fla,Au and Tech to not come back. He wins one he’s coming back. I just feel McGarity will think the talent is right around the corner to win. I would like to see him( MsGarity) tell Richt, Ok, I’m adding 2 years to your contract, But Bobo is back to Qb coach and You are calling the games.

Matthews Dawg

October 26th, 2011
9:44 am

rough rider…i know it’s stupid and crazy to mention that, but I have a couple of friends who spell that word with two “O’s”. I’m sure I’ll miss spell something and everyone can jump on it and rip me for it. Just an observation!

We will get Marshall as long as CMR is around. Out of state and some in-state prospects go to UGA because of CMR and the other coaches. It would be nice if they all went to UGA because of the love of the school, but that is not the way it works all the time.

CMR gets a 5 year extension IMO if we beat UF. That is going to be a tough win for us. I’m ready for us to take that series back over again.

Go Dawgs!!

Hurt Kurbstreit

October 26th, 2011
9:46 am

This is why Dawg fans should continue to support their program. Recruits hear all that negative talk and it has an affect on their decisions. CMR is not going anywhere. He will make the decisions he has to make to right the program, as he showed by firing his long time friend and defensive coordinator. If changes are needed on offense he will take care of it ( eventually ).

G-Dawg

October 26th, 2011
9:48 am

Fact is…UGA cant afford to lose Richt after this year…because of the attrition of new/old players. Losing 3 Olinemen…we need him for the recruiting of these key guys, Theus, Young, and Marshall….as well as the rest of the current commitments. Lose Richt…probably lose the majority of recruits. Unless you have a bonified coach (Peterson or equivalent), who can come in and bond with these players. Gotta love college football…and looking forward to somemore great memories at the WLOCP. One of the greatest games in the college football experiences.

JB

October 26th, 2011
9:49 am

I hope it’s not 5 years. We are in a 3 year slide and I don’t think that warrants a 5 year extension. Add 2 years to his one left and that gives him 3 years and any recruit would feel comfortable with that time cycle. If next year implodes, then you’ve got two years to buy out, not four.

JB

October 26th, 2011
9:52 am

OK, Hurt, Richt is going nowhere, But Bobo needs to go to full time recruiting Cord and richt needs to hire a top notch Qb coach and he needs to take over the play calling. We don’t need a new OC because Richt is stubborn and doesn’t want anyone else to bring in a new system.

cdpridg

October 26th, 2011
10:00 am

I tell ya we already have the defense and besides Boykin not losing much else. Beef UF this line and get another 5 star back to compliment Crowell and the Dawg will be totally back and these schools on our schedule will have Hell to pay!

Arthur Redding, Jr.

October 26th, 2011
10:00 am

Theus will be the first UGA All-American lineman in a good while.

Matthews Dawg

October 26th, 2011
10:02 am

JB… that makes sense, but I think you have to go over 4 yrs or the same crap is spoken by all the other schools. “see they don’t have confidence that CMR will around, so you don’t want to go there, etc…”. That’s why I think they extend it long term.

Hurt Kurbstreit

October 26th, 2011
10:03 am

@ JB. I think Bobo is on the hot seat. He may be re-assigned after this season. Clemson elevates their program by bringing in an OC with a fresh approach. I don’t know who is out there, but I’m in favor of making a change in that area. Who are the bright OC’s out there now? Anybody know?

Who makes the decision

October 26th, 2011
10:06 am

UGA loses to Florida and it will be very, very hot for Richt. Trust me. Recruiting or not.

Phones will ring and email will be sent and faxes sent to AD and UGA Pres. The wealthy alumni contributors and the Athletic Board will also be very upset. This is what Pres Adams and McGarity do not want …………… a divided UGA nation and then we end up with another panicky situation like when Ray Goff got the job, post Dooley.

NO ………………..UGA needs to win em ALL. Lose to Florida and AU and he is gone. Lose to Florida and GT and he is gone. Lose badly to Florida and win em all ? It will not be pretty. UGA right now is very divided.

Tick, tock, tick, tock. It never should have gotten to this point with TWO losses to Boise State AND SC. These two losses hurt him more than anyone wants to admit and with a ugly loss to Florida …………………….it will not be pretty in Athens.

UGA class of 71 & 73

JB

October 26th, 2011
10:18 am

WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA….. Look at the headlines in the AJC JUST posted about Tech’s football AND Basketball grad rates. WORST IN THE ACC. Boy, that is damning. WORST. Worse than Miami and FSU……LMAO…..

Dawg1

October 26th, 2011
10:19 am

Well we will all know in about a month exactly where the program stands, but all of the CMR haters need to understand that it means pretty much losing a recruitting class – you might pick up one or two that will follow a knew coach, but in most cases you lose more than you gain. There just isn’t enough time to change a kids mind about another school.

Is what it is…

JB

October 26th, 2011
10:22 am

Dawg 1………..you are correct I’m afraid. Dawgs lose 2 of these 3 key games, and it changes everything……And all 3 are capable of beating us.

MarineDog

October 26th, 2011
10:31 am

I think the biggest problem with returning Bobo to QBs coach and hiring another OC is that we already have the maximum allowable coaches. The NCAA limits that number to 11, so it will take some major reshuffling in order for this to happen. Making a change like that this far into the season may prove to be too disruptive. Not sure what they would have to do if they decide to do that next year.

Bobo gets the blame for a lot of things on the field; some of them are his fault and some of them are the players’ failure to execute. It would be a dis-service to the university if he was let go altogether because he’s an outstanding QBs coach and recruiter.