A football life: Jake Ganus

Jake Ganus, former Chelsea H.S. and UAB linebacker, will suite up for the University of Georgia next year. (Contributed)

Jake Ganus, former Chelsea H.S. and UAB linebacker, will suit up for the University of Georgia next year. (Contributed)

By JOHN ANTONIO / Guest Columnist

Column- If you follow football in the Shelby County area, there is a good chance you probably have heard of Jake Ganus. For those who have not, he was a well-decorated football player at Chelsea High School under Coach Wade Waldrop. During his time at Chelsea, Jake played linebacker, running back, and quarterback, and was named Shelby County Player of the Year, along with 1st team All State Honors during the 2011-12 season. He signed with the UAB Blazers in the spring of 2012 and quickly made an impact.

2014 was Ganus’s best year yet. He was UAB’s leader in tackles last season, with 70, and had a team-high 16.5 tackles-for-loss. He also had six sacks which ranked second on the team. Upon hearing the news of UAB’s football program’s demise earlier this month, Jake said that he and his peers were shocked. “It was a tough situation for everyone involved. It definitely caught us off guard.” Due to the circumstances, UAB football players are now free to sign anywhere they like and are eligible to play immediately starting next fall.

Jake had 18 offers from other schools but quickly found a new home in Athens, Ga. with Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs. “At the end of the day it was where I wanted to be. I’m from Georgia and it’s a great school with great coaches and it’s just a great place to finish out my career.” Jake will be competing for a linebacker position this summer in what he believes will be a “wide open” competition. Now that Jake is officially a member of a talented SEC school, it finally gives him a chance to win at the highest level. “It’s exciting. It’s something you grow up dreaming about, playing for a big school and a chance to win a championship.”

After his collegiate career is over, Jake says he would like to seriously pursue a career in the NFL as a linebacker. “It has been one of my dreams since I was a kid,” says Ganus.