Jake Ganus stood out at UAB and Georgia and hopes to do the same at the Senior Bowl

Jake Ganus stood out at UAB and Georgia and hopes to do the same at the Senior Bowl
Georgia linebacker Jake Ganus (51) during the Bulldogs' game with the South Carolina Gamecocks . (Photo by John Kelley)

Jake Ganus walked onto the stage and stepped onto the scale. As 800 to 900 National Football League scouts looked on, the Chelsea High School product weighed in at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile.

Wearing only his underwear.

“It was very uncomfortable,” said Ganus, a Georgia linebacker by way of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “It’s not like I’m ashamed of my body but any time you’re standing on a stage in front of so many people who are judging what you look like, it’s a little uncomfortable. But it’s OK.”

Ganus is one of seven state-connected players on the South team in this Saturday’s game. He is joined by Auburn cornerback Jonathan Jones, Samford cornerback James Bradberry and five members of the national champion Alabama Crimson Tide: cornerback and return specialist Cyrus Jones, quarterback Jake Coker, running back Kenyan Drake, linebacker Reggie Ragland and defensive end Jarran Reed.

Ganus was a late addition to the South roster that’s being led by the coaching staff of the Jacksonville Jaguars. But he didn’t lack for notoriety as a tweet noted that his 29-inch arms are the shortest of the players in the Senior Bowl, an inch shorter than Jones’.

The former Chelsea Hornet checked the stats and found about 10 players whose arms are about a half-inch longer, and about 20 to 30 players whose arms are about an inch longer. He tweeted: “Clear eyes, short arms, can’t lose.”

“My response to that is, show me on film where those short arms get me in trouble,” he said. “I’m just going to continue to control what I can control.”

Ganus controlled where he began in college football, choosing to suit up for the Blazers. He couldn’t control the shutdown of the UAB program – set to return in 2017 – but he could control the completion of his college career in Athens, Ga.

The inside linebacker led the Blazers in tackles in the 2014 season. He proudly acknowledges both teams he played for as part of the South roster.
But he was seen wearing a Blazer helmet when ESPN broadcasted the South’s practice on Thursday.

Ganus has also been seen with the red Georgia helmet on at Senior Bowl practice.

The linebacker’s father, contacted in Mobile. said his son thought long about “showing some love” for UAB and talked to Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage to get the OK.

“He’s been blessed with two great programs,” Greg Ganus said. “He thought this practice would be the one to throw it in and Mr. Savage said it sounded like a good idea. He spent three years there and when he buys in, he buys in. He was all Blazers until that happened with the program.

“Everything I could tell from the Georgia people and for sure the UAB people, everybody seemed to like it,” said the elder Ganus, who thinks his son will wear the Bulldogs headgear in the game Saturday.

Jake Ganus knows that Saturday’s game at 1:30 p.m. on the NFL Network from Ladd-Peebles Stadium is important. But the workouts this week are likely more important to his goal of becoming a pro football player.

“The scouts watch the game but they’re not at the game,” he said. “From what I’ve heard, most of them don’t actually attend the game. I do think practice is extremely important.”

Most college seniors undergo an interview as they get set to enter their chosen profession. Very few do it wearing only their skivvies and a smile.

It’s all the continuation of Ganus’ goal of playing on Sundays. He has long wanted to make it to Mobile for this event.

“Yes,” he said. “That is definitely the goal. It’s very exciting. It’s a great opportunity to meet a bunch of people, make good first impressions and continue to do everything possible to be successful.”

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