published Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Georgia's Jonathon Rumph aiming for strong final season

  • photo
    Georgia receiver Jonathon Rumph played in just five games last season after transferring from junior college.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Georgia senior receiver Jonathon Rumph has played just five career games for the Bulldogs, but this is not the time to wonder what could have been.

The 6-foot-5, 208-pounder from Cayce, S.C., is trying to make the most of his final year on a veteran receiving corps headed by Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Conley, Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley. Rumph and Conley were the only healthy receivers out of that bunch last weekend, and Rumph took advantage with six catches for 62 yards and a touchdown in the second spring scrimmage.

"It's my last go-around, and I am trying to make the best of it," Rumph said by phone after Tuesday's practice. "I'm going to try and do what I do and control what I can control. Because I'm big, people don't expect me to have speed, but I can be a deep-ball threat.

"I'm working on being an all-around receiver. I don't want to be just this or that. I want to be the total package."

Rumph was a football and basketball standout in Cayce but had to take a two-year detour at Holmes (Miss.) Community College. He racked up 87 catches for 1,347 yards in his two seasons at Holmes and was rated by ESPN as the No. 7 junior college prospect in the 2013 signing class.

In his first G-Day spring game in Athens, Rumph caught two touchdown passes.

"A year ago, everybody remembers him making a couple of nice plays in the spring game, and that was probably his best day of the spring," Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said Tuesday night in his post-practice news conference. "It wasn't that he was doing poorly. He was just learning. Now he's much more proficient at running all the routes and understanding what to do.

"He's still got a ways to go in the precision of running his routes and his blocking, but he's a lot more prepared than he was a year ago."

A nagging hamstring injury hindered Rumph from getting playing time early last season, but Mitchell tore his ACL in the opening game and Bennett tore his meniscus in the fifth game at Tennessee, which was when Scott-Wesley tore his ACL. It was not the desired scenario when Rumph got on the field for the first time in the eighth game against Florida.

He got his most significant action in the ninth game against Appalachian State, collecting four receptions for 98 yards, and he added two catches for 14 yards at Auburn and one reception for 9 yards in the Gator Bowl against Nebraska.

"To be honest, a lot of people can't walk or run or even move," Rumph said, "so I think it's a blessing that I was able to get a chance to play. I'm not going to sit here and lie -- I did want to redshirt -- but the most important thing was doing what was best for the team."

Rumph wishes his career to this point had gone differently -- "I didn't really take school to be as important as football," he said -- but what he wants more than anything is for the Bulldogs to open this season with all the receivers healthy.

"I'm praying for those boys to have speedy recoveries, because they will make our team so much better," Rumph said. "I'm blessed to be around great receivers, and we all feed off each other. I can't wait for those boys to get back."

Odds and ends

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity has held discussions with Notre Dame about playing during the 2018 and 2019 seasons, but nothing has been finalized. ... Tuesday's practice was the 11th of the spring. ... Saturday's G-Day game will start at 1 p.m., and it will be televised by CSS.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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