Georgia’s new wide receiver from South Carolina knows a little something about another that made a huge impact for the Bulldogs.
Jonathon Rumph saw A.J. Green show his talents on a court, not a football field, before he came to Athens.
“The only time I really saw him play anything was basketball,” Rumph said. “He played in the state championship (game) my freshman year in high school. He’s a phenomenal athlete. He’s just a different type of athlete.”
Green made a quick splash at Georgia out of Summerville, S.C., before becoming a top-five NFL draft pick in 2011.
Rumph hails from Cayce, S.C., near Columbia, but comes to Georgia after two seasons at Holmes Community College in Goodman, Miss.
He joins a receiving corps that lost Tavarres King and Marlon Brown but still has plenty of targets for Aaron Murray in Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Conley, Michael Bennett, Rantavious Wooten, Rhett McGowan and Justin Scott-Wesley
“They recruited me to come in and play,” Rumph said. “Nothing’s going to be given to me. I just came in to work hard and try to earn my spot just like everybody else. I’m hoping I can come in and be another piece to that puzzle.”
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Rumph brings size and athleticism to the position, but entering his fifth spring practice this afternoon, he’s still learning as he goes although he made “a couple of plays” in Tuesday’s practice, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said.
“He’s got some talent,” Bobo said. “Obviously you can see he’s a big receiver. … You see him thinking out there and a little bit unsure of himself. You try not to judge him too much right now. Just let him get acclimated to what’s going on and learn what to do so he can compete in the fall. Right now, he’s learning and struggling a bit. I do see some talent there, but he’s just got to learn what to do.”
Georgia hasn’t made the 13 early enrollees available for interviews since the start of spring practices, but Rumph spoke after signing day about coming to Athens after making 45 catches for 569 yards and three touchdowns last season in junior college.
“The thing that led me to Georgia is the pro-style offense,” Rumph said. “They’ve got a great offense. They’re in the SEC. It’s really like three hours away from my home. Coming from JUCO, I wanted to be close but not too close to my family so they could come see me play. It’s just a great atmosphere for an athlete.”
Rumph liked South Carolina in high school but didn’t have any Division I scholarship offers because his grades required him to go the JUCO route. He played receiver his freshman and sophomore years before playing quarterback his final two seasons at Brookland-Cayce.
Now, he’ll be catching passes from a quarterback who has thrown for more than 3,000 yards each of his three seasons at Georgia.
Naturally, Rumph was happy that Murray decided to return for his senior year.
“It was really big,” he said. “He’s a great quarterback. … I had some good quarterbacks, but just to hear he’s coming back that’s good to have a good quarterback as a receiver.”
Notes: Offensive guard Chris Burnette is one of 10 male finalists for the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award for top minority student-athlete. Burnette, a finance major, is a member of Georgia athletics’ leadership academy and has made the SEC academic honor roll three times. … The team is scheduled to hold its first spring scrimmage on Saturday.