Former UAB linebacker Jake Ganus will transfer to play his senior year at Georgia.
Ganus was UAB's leading tackler the past two seasons and is eligible to play immediately following the folding of the Blazers program Dec. 2. He announced the news on Twitter:
Georgia is set to lose inside linebackers Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson next season. Outside linebackers Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd are both expected to return, per Genry Estes of 247Sports, but the Bulldogs could still use depth at the position.
Ganus began his career at safety before moving to linebacker as a sophomore. He had 16.5 tackles for loss in 2014, tying him for No. 16 in the country. He is 6'2", 225 pounds and played on the weak side at UAB, so it's doubtful he could handle playing inside in the SEC.
Herrera (245 lbs) and Wilson (237 lbs) both make Ganus look small.
Still, Ganus made the All-Conference-USA second team in 2014 and has three years of game experience under him. He was one of the most attractive "free agents" on UAB's roster and gives Georgia depth at multiple positions—safety included.
Jake Reuse of Rivals.com explains how Georgia coaches courted Ganus, and how Ganus effects the scholarship numbers:
[Ganus] was put in contact with Georgia coaches when the relocation process began and the relationship appeared to bloom from there.
Ganus committed to the Bulldogs over the Marshall Thundering Herd, upon finding out that he would be granted official visits over the dead period and that his eligibility would not count toward the mid-year scholarship numbers. Instead, Ganus will be counted toward the final spring count of 85.
Ganus played his best game of the 2014 season against Arkansas, one of the most physical offenses in the SEC. The Razorbacks won with ease, 45-17, but Ganus had 11 total tackles including one 12-yard sack. He tackled Jonathan Williams for a one-yard loss on the first play of the game and finished with five tackles in the first quarter.
Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt could go a number of different ways with Ganus. He could try to beef him up and play him on the inside. He could try to slim him down and play him at safety. He could leave him as he is and let him back up Floyd and Jenkins.
That Ganus doesn't fit one role concretely is what makes him such a valuable addition. Georgia has a ton of holes on defense, and a new one opened Dec. 8 when cornerback J.J. Green announced he will transfer to Georgia Tech. If the past few offseasons were any indication, that will not be the only player lost to transfer or dismissal before next fall.
Ganus gives the Bulldogs options at multiple spots. He is an experienced FBS player who can paper over some of their holes.
No matter where he lines up, this defense just got better.
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeigh35