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Georgia’s Jake Ganus gets coveted Senior Bowl invite

Jake Ganus led the Bulldogs in tackles from his inside linebacker position, where he recorded 102 tackles, 2 interceptions, a fumble recovery and a sack.

ATHENS – The incredible year of Jake Ganus continues.

The Georgia linebacker has been invited to the Senior Bowl and will see his name included on the South team’s roster when additions are announced on Monday, persons with knowledge of the process confirmed. Ganus will become the fourth Bulldog to be selected to this year’s Senior Bowl, which is considered the premier college all-star game and an invaluable platform for gaining NFL draft exposure.

Ganus,  6-foot-2, 233-pound middle linebacker from Chelsea, Ala., will be joined there by three UGA teammates on the South squad: outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins, wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell and offensive lineman John Theus. The Senior Bowl will be played Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. It will be televised by the NFL Network.

Ganus declined comment on Sunday. He is currently training at EXOS — formerly known as Athletes’ Performance at The Andrews Institute — in Gulf Breeze, Fla.

But Ganus has been holding out hope this would happen. He has been on the Senior Bowl’s watch list since December and spoke during the Bulldogs’ preparations for the TaxSlayer Bowl about his hopes for an invite and an eventual NFL career.

“Hopefully I’ve put enough stuff on tape that I can go out and work hard this spring and have a chance at the next level,” Ganus said.

The appointment is a continuation of one of the most incredible and unlikely stories in college football over the past year. Before signing with UGA as an early enrollee last January, Ganus spent his first three years playing at UAB, which abruptly dismantled its football program at the end of the 2014 regular season. Ganus, like other players on that Blazers’ team, had no idea where he might go or if his football career would continue.

As it turned out, Georgia was one of dozens of scholarship offers Ganus received. And not only did he accept that offer and end up starting every game for the Bulldogs, he led the team in tackles with 102, was named defensive MVP, overall MVP and a permanent team captain.

“I’m telling you, I don’t know where we would’ve been without Jake,” said Mike Ekeler, his position coach at Georgia and now defensive coordinator at North Texas. “He’s a special kid, a super hard worker and he’s a talented football player and he deserves everything that’s coming his way.”

Ganus also got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Peyton Thomas, this past fall. He sprung a surprise proposal on her at midfield of Sanford Stadium after Georgia’s 52-20 win over South Carolina.

Ganus addressed the incredible year in a documentary that aired on ESPN earlier this month.

“It’s been a rollercoaster,” he said. “I really don’t know how to describe it. I didn’t have anywhere to go. Georgia took me in and gave me the best year of my life.”

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