Ahkil Crumpton's second preseason camp as a University of Georgia receiver will be his last.
The 5-foot-9, 175-pound senior has the most unique journey to Athens of any current Bulldogs player, having played at West Catholic High School in Philadelphia before taking the junior college route to Los Angeles. Crumpton arrived at Georgia last year a day before August workouts began, so he can look back and smile now due to an enhanced comfort level.
"I feel like I'm just much more relaxed," Crumpton told reporters Thursday night. "I understand the playbook, so I can go out there, make plays and compete. Last year, it was all about remembering the plays and not going out there and messing up.
"I was just catching on. It all came fast, but I got through it."
Georgia practiced Thursday afternoon and will practice again today before Saturday's scrimmage inside Sanford Stadium.
A year ago, Crumpton was handed jersey No. 16, which resulted in instant comparisons to former Bulldogs receiver and return specialist Isaiah McKenzie, who led Georgia in receiving in 2016 and became a fifth-round NFL draft pick of the Denver Broncos. The comparisons would not last long, however, as Crumpton had just five receptions, two punt returns and one kickoff return.
Crumpton's biggest play occurred in the 38-7 thumping of Georgia Tech in the regular-season finale, when he hauled in a 78-yard touchdown reception from Jake Fromm with 11:21 remaining in the game.
Now wearing jersey No. 25, Crumpton is working to earn more time at receiver while also competing to return kickoffs and punts.
"I feel like I'm going to have a big role on special teams this year," he said. "We're out there competing every day, and I'm showcasing what I can do."
Crumpton is not the first receiver mentioned when Jim Chaney discusses the position, as the offensive coordinator starts with senior Terry Godwin and juniors Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley. All three played significantly more than Crumpton last season, as did Hardman as a return specialist.
Yet Crumpton is used to being the underdog, having received a late opportunity to join the Bulldogs after a 2016 season at Los Angeles Valley Community College in which he averaged 41.3 yards on kickoff returns and 31.4 yards on punt returns.
"I feel like it was perfect timing last year," Crumpton said, "and I think the opportunity I got, I've taken advantage of."
Though Crumpton didn't have any explosive returns for the Bulldogs and didn't match the 477 receiving yards he produced in junior college, he does look back at last season as a good experience. He expects to be much better this year, though he is not attaching any numerical projections.
"I don't want to put any limitations on my senior season," he said.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.