I think some people probably forget just how good Petrus was at Arkansas. He was first-team All-SEC twice during a period when the SEC was as competitive as ever. Bobby Petrino loved how he played.
“He’s a guy that we relied on for toughness,” Petrino said in 2009. “We ran the ball behind him. We usually pass protected man-to-man almost all the time against the best inside defensive rush guy.”
The only other Arkansas players who were first-team All-SEC two or more times: Darren McFadden, Shawn Andrews, Ken Hamlin, D.J. Williams and Jonathan Luigs. Those are all-time great players. So is Petrus.
His playing story wasn’t a whole lot different than Brandon Burlsworth’s, and of course they share the tragic similarity of dying at a young age. Both were walk-ons who became All-SEC linemen. Of course Burlsworth came as an offensive lineman. Petrus came without a position. He played tight end and linebacker his first season, was a fullback as a sophomore and didn’t become a lineman until his junior year. He used to stay in the film room until late into the night, asking hypothetical questions about protections in various scenarios.
And as everyone could tell through his on-camera persona, he had a big personality. I used to fill in as a host on Bo’s show, probably 50 times or more all told. I don’t have to think hard about my favorite day hosting the show. It was when we had Mitch in studio and just let him tell stories. It was a lot of fun.