Georgia was in need of some good news this week. That opportunity was available on Monday with the commitment of elite TE target Theo Johnson.
That moment, however, will only feel like the last few days for DawgNation.
Johnson chose Penn State on Monday.
The nation’s No. 3 TE and No. 83 overall prospect (per the 247Sports Composite ratings) announced his decision from a live ceremony at Holy Names School in Ontario.
His decision came down to four teams: Iowa, Georgia, Michigan and Penn State. The Wolverines were the closest school in proximity and they got his last official visit.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder was one of the top remaining targets for the Bulldogs in the 2020 class. He took his official visit to UGA for the Notre Dame game back on Sept. 21.
The Windsor resident was one of three major TE recruiting targets for the Bulldogs in the cycle. Arik Gilbert chose LSU earlier this year.
That put the onus clearly on Johnson and 5-star ATH Darnell Washington. Johnson’s relationship with first-year tight ends coach Todd Hartley was a key factor why he kept Georgia in the race for so long.
Johnson is 6 feet and 5.5 inches tall. He weighs right at 240 pounds with a 4.63 laser time in the 40. He can test anywhere from 36 to 40 inches with his vertical jump.
The Bulldogs simply did not have an athlete like that yet at TE for their 2020 team. With all apologies to John FitzPatrick, Ryland Goede and Brett Seither they don’t have that blend of athletic ability, ball skills, explosiveness, length and overall size.
Not many tight end rooms do. Johnson could already spring past 10 feet in the broad jump in the summer of 2018.
His decision does not take away the importance of what the Bulldogs are still trying to do with their tight end room now with Washington.
Johnson was a major player in that process, but that still leaves the 5-star ATH from Nevada as the major remaining target for the Bulldogs in 2020 at that position.
Theo Johnson (left) and Darnell Washington (right) have been Georgia’s best hopes of boosting the athletic ability of the tight end position in Athens with the 2020 cycle. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
Theo Johnson: The decision is finally in the books
It was a trying time for the 2019 Under Armour All-American. He was one of the recruits who struggled with this choice more than any in the recent history of covering Georgia football recruiting.
He had set his commitment date for November 9, but then backed up that choice because he simply was not ready.
It had been weighing on him for some time.
“I’ve thought about this every single hour of the day for the last two and a half years,” Johnson told DawgNation last month. “I thought about this at least every single day.”
“I can’t focus. I will try and think of something else and I just can’t because I just know how much of an impact this decision is going to have on my whole life. I just can’t not think about it. It has been really very taxing on me. The one thing that kind of takes my mind off of things is playing football and working out and doing stuff like that. But when I am just sitting around in class or something it is pretty tough. It is very hard and it has definitely been rough.”