Georgia’s loaded wide receiving corps could get even deeper if a couple of newcomers work their way into the mix.
Junior college transfer Jonathon Rumph and freshman Reggie Davis have no designs about making a big splash immediately. They are content to bide their time for their chance to shine sooner or later.
“I don’t know when or what game,” Davis said, “but just got to wait on your turn.”
“Everybody’s got to know their role,” Rumph said. “I knew that coming here. I just want to be a part of something great. … Just play my role so we can get a national championship.”
Rumph and Davis are trying to crack the rotation of a receiving group that is ranked third in the nation by Athlon and fifth by Phil Steele.
“I think the more depth you have, the harder the guys can play when they’re out there, the faster you can go,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “If you’ve only got four or five guys that you feel comfortable with, you can’t go a certain pace all the time. There’s certain things you can only do when you’ve got more guys.”
Rumph brings size to the wideout group at 6-foot-5 and 208 pounds.
The 6-foot, 159-pound Davis can jet. He ran the 100 meters in 10.4 seconds in high school in Tallahassee, Fla.
“All the guys talk about his speed and he is a fast guy,” coach Mark Richt said, “and he’s caught the ball very well.”
Rumph and Davis are additions to a position that returns six players who combined for 18 touchdowns last season: Malcolm Mitchell, Michael Bennett, Chris Conley, Rantavious Wooten, Rhett McGowan and Justin Scott-Wesley.
“We legit have six or seven that can go in at any time,” Mitchell said.
With all that returning talent (even with Tavarres King and Marlon Brown gone to the NFL), quarterback Aaron Murray said last month that it might not make sense for Bobo and receivers coach Tony Ball to burn a redshirt to play Davis for just a few snaps a game.
Now Murray’s reconsidering that.
“Man, he might play a lot this year,” Murray said. “He’s a speed demon. I think he’s the fastest guy in our receiving corps and we’ve got some speed over there. He’s worked his tail off learning his position, learning the plays. He’s definitely opened up a lot of eyes out there with what he’s able to do with his route-running ability.”
Rumph, from Holmes (Miss.) Community College, opened eyes himself with four catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns in the G-Day game after hardly being heard from in the weeks before in spring practices.
“Rumph, he’s a lot different than he was the first couple of weeks of spring ball,” Richt said. “That midyear enrollment for him was crucial. If this was his first shot in our system learning, it would have been hard for him to look as ready as he looks now.”
Rumph had four catches for 53 yards in the first preseason scrimmage and has made plays in practice, too, Bobo said.
“He’s smoothing out,” Bobo said. “He’s still a little raw a bit, learning the offense, learning how to run routes and then at the same time using his size. … Coach Ball really does a good job with guys like that that are bigger bodies and maybe a little bit raw.”
Rumph said that during spring practice he practiced without a grasp of the playbook.
“They just wanted me to go hard,” Rumph said. “Don’t worry about it, just go hard.’ … Now that I know what I’m doing, I know the plays like the back of my hand, and I really can add my own twist of things.”
Davis’ momentum this preseason was slowed in recent days by a sprained knee that could keep him out of today’s second August scrimmage.
How that will factor into a redshirt decision remains to be seen, but even a player that may seem headed for a redshirt could end up playing.
Conley didn’t play his freshman season until the fourth game after Wooten sustained a concussion and Marlon Brown an ankle injury.
Rumph seems more assured of playing. His size makes him a potential red zone weapon.
“What kind of impact hell have on the season, I don’t know,” Bobo said. “If he continues to work, I believe he’ll make one at some point.”