Georgia receiver Javon Wims has stellar start to senior season

Georgia receiver Javon Wims has stellar start to senior season

September 6th, 2017 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Georgia senior receiver Javon Wims had three catches for 81 yards and a touchdown during last Saturday's 31-10 win over Appalachian State in Sanford Stadium.

Photo by Perry McIntyre

ATHENS, Ga. — Folks will just have to agree to disagree about Jake Fromm's first collegiate touchdown pass to Javon Wims during last Saturday's 31-10 win over Appalachian State inside Sanford Stadium.

At the 10:40 mark of the second quarter, Fromm had pressure in the pocket and lofted a throw down the middle of the field for the 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior. Using his size advantage, Wims went up for the ball in front of two Mountaineers defensive backs, snagged it and then stretched into the end zone for a 14-0 lead.

"He probably should not have thrown that ball," ESPN color commentator and former Ole Miss and Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said during the replay of the score. "The receiver made him look a lot better than what happened. The DBs just got outjumped."

Added play-by-play announcer Mike Patrick: "It really was a poor pass."

So what did Wims think of the throw that resulted in just the second score of his Bulldogs career?

"We repped that play during the summer in camp and in the week leading up to the game," he said. "I just thought about staying in the blind area and breaking in front of the cornerback while the ball is in the air. I think it was a perfect throw, because he gave me the opportunity to go make a play on the ball.

"It was a perfect throw."

The touchdown not only put the game essentially out of reach given the way the No. 15 Bulldogs were playing defensively, but it cemented Wims as a prominent weapon in Georgia's 2017 offensive arsenal. The elusive and diminutive Isaiah McKenzie was the leading receiver for the Bulldogs last season, but the larger and more physical Wims occupies that spot after one game following his three-catch, 81-yard performance.

Wims had 17 receptions for 190 yards last season, which was his first with the Bulldogs after transferring from Hinds (Miss.) Community College, and he showed some potential with five catches for 90 yards in the 27-24 win at Kentucky in early November. He claimed last month that this season would be different, because he knows now what the coaches expect of him and what he needs to do.

"Javon showed out," sophomore receiver Mecole Hardman said. "I enjoy seeing him go up and get the ball and playing more physical than he has been. I love for him to put on a show."

Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said in a news conference after Tuesday's practice that Wims and junior receiver Terry Godwin blocked really well Saturday and that they're playing "with more competitive toughness than they did last year."

Hardman had an 8-yard reception against App State, which was the only other catch by a Bulldogs receiver. That should not be the case this Saturday night at No. 24 Notre Dame, when sophomore Riley Ridley returns to action following a one-game suspension that was the result of a marijuana-related arrest earlier this year.

Ridley had just 12 receptions last season but averaged a team-leading 19.8 yards per catch.

"He brings another dimension into the group," Wims said. "Riley is physical and tough, and he's dependable on the field. He's going to bring a spark to us. I'm very happy with my performance, but I also think there are some areas I can improve in.

"I'll look at the film and break things down to where I can have an even better performance this week."

Odds and ends

Senior safety Dominick Sanders on the Bulldogs being underdogs this week: "We'll come out and prove these people wrong on Saturday." ... Smart on new No. 2 quarterback Brice Ramsey, who threw two interceptions last week: "He went from getting no reps to getting all the reps with the twos, so he's like a changed person. It's like, 'I've got to prove myself. I've got to have a better performance than I did last time.' He certainly felt that way, and we did, too."

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


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