Few players who have never produced in an actual game have created more hoopla than Georgia’s Jonathon Rumph.
The junior wide receiver from Cayce, S.C. — by way of Holmes (Miss.) Community College — drew the attention of Bulldogs fans when he hauled in two touchdowns in the G-Day game last spring. And he’s certainly an impressive physical specimen, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 220 pounds. But because of a partially torn hamstring suffered in preseason camp, he has done little on the field to this point.
Rumph got his first action in a game Saturday when he played “about 10 snaps.” He has yet to catch a pass.
But it appears Rumph finally is well enough to be included in the Bulldogs’ plans. And how they need him at this point. As Georgia prepares for Saturday’s homecoming game against Appalachian State, it remains without three of its top wide receivers. Chris Conley (ankle), Malcom Mitchell (knee) and Justin Scott-Wesley (knee) remain sidelined, the latter two for the rest of the season.
Rumph was cleared to talk to reporters for the first time since early August after the Bulldogs’ practice Wednesday night. Here’s what he had to say.
Q: How is the hamstring injury?
A: The best I ever felt with my leg was last week. I came back from North Texas and the bye week feeling good. I ended up hurting it again and that set me back again. Last week was the best my leg ever felt.
Q: What’s the prognosis going forward?
A: It's just like a car. You have to keep your maintenance up. I'm still doing treatment, twice a day. … I feel like I can get more flexible and get my core better and my endurance better. There are a lot of things. Your body is a machine, and you have to treat it well. It'll give you good results.
Q: What has it been like being unable to play?
A: It was tough sitting out. You really have to pray a lot and come to the conclusion that you're always in a blessed situation. So just take advantage of your opportunities. Every play could be your last, so take advantage of every chance to go out onto that field. It just opened my mind to the fact that I have to take care of my body the right way. I have to take advantage of my opportunities. … It was really frustrating, but everybody kept me uplifted. I'm not going to look at it in a negative way because it opened my mind that you have to take care of your body and take care of your opportunities when you have them. It was a lesson learned.
Q: How do you feel about losing your redshirt option after playing this past weekend?
A: I never thought about taking a redshirt. I was doing what I had to do for my team. It never came into my mind to take a redshirt. If they need me to play, that's what I have to do because I'm a team player. I never went against the coaches' decision because they see something I don't see.
Q: What was it like to finally get on the field in that first series against Florida?
A: I was just so excited and happy to be out there. I was just ready to make a play and do what I could for the team, so we could score.
Q: How are you progressing with the on-field aspects of playing wide receiver?
A: I'm coming every day to get better and show the world my talent. … I still have a lot to learn and work on. I watch my game every day. It was frustrating to see that I was progressing and getting better, and boom, that just happens. You still have to have faith and see the big picture and not let the little things stress you.
Q: What have you learned from this whole experience?
A: You've got to always be patient. When your opportunity comes, you need to take advantage of it. I learned that from going to JUCO. When your opportunity comes and you see your crack, you have to hit it.
About the Author