Rumph Ready For Impact

ATHENS - While the majority of his teammates are fighting to stay healthy, Jonathon Rumph is just getting there.

Rumph, a transfer from Holmes Community College in Mississippi, enrolled at Georgia in January, but has battled a nagging hamstring injury this season. His mother played a significant part in his recovery, verbally reinforcing him to make sure he was ready when his chance to play finally came. The junior eventually made his Georgia debut against Florida, and has been trying to make the most of his playing time.

"At this point right now I just feel so good," Rumph said. "I'm just ready to take every day and run with it and take advantage of my opportunity. My mom, she's always telling me to keep faith and be patient, and that's what JUCO [junior college] molded me to be."

Patience has indeed been required of Rumph this season. He's still patiently waiting to score his first touchdown in a Georgia uniform. He currently has four catches for 98 yards in the two games he's appeared in. While defensive backs will one day strive to contain Rumph, he can barely contain himself right now.

"I'm anxious. I'm just in an anxious mode," Rumph said. "I'm itching for it, so I'm just ready to make plays and show the world what we can do as a team. I'm a part of a team. It ain't about me. It's part of the team and getting this W."

The will to play has always been there for Rumph. His coaches and teammates see it, and his work ethic has stood out to some of the veterans on this team. Wide receiver Rantavious Wooten has been at Georgia long enough to play alongside plenty of talented receivers, and said Rumph has the intangibles that can't be taught.

"He's working real hard and I expect big things from him," Wooten said. "He's a big guy. He's gifted with a body like that. I wish I was 6-foot-4. He just definitely brings something to the table for this team. We could use him any way we can."

Even thought his limited role in the offense has made it difficult to see, Rumph has the ability to make big plays. That's always an added bonus for senior quarterback Aaron Murray.

"Right now he looks like he did before he tweaked his hamstring and was hurt before the season," Murray said. "That was the Jonathon Rumph we remember in camp. In camp he was killing it. I'm like, man this guy's about to ball out this year."

Rumph wasn't able to 'ball out' in the first few games of this season, though. However, that wasn't necessarily a setback for a new addition to Georgia's receiving corps. Rumph's string of inactive games gave him extra time to further comprehend an offense that was once unfamiliar to him. Now all he needs is more reps to be on the same page as his fellow receivers.

"I guess when he was hurt he had a little extra time on his hands to learn the playbook, so now he's back, he's 100 percent, he understands the offense a little better, he knows the plays, he's come along, he's been working hard," Wooten said. "He's looking to see where the play is so he's definitely going to be one of those guys that's going to have a breakout game. I don't know when, but he's definitely working, he's definitely hungry and he definitely wants to help his team in any way he can."

Falling behind the rest of his fellow receivers was never a real worry for Rumph, though. Wide receivers coach Tony Ball wouldn't allow that to happen.

"Coach Ball will push you to the max because he sees the bigger picture," Rumph said. "You might not see it. You might be tired and your feet might hurt and your legs might be sore, but he sees the bigger picture. That's what he really emphasizes; never stop working."

You can never stop working in a conference like the SEC. Rumph knew the transition from junior college standout to SEC newcomer wouldn't be an easy one, but he had the proper guidance to help him through the change.

"The SEC is what everybody expects. They've got a ton of great athletes and you've got to compete every day," Rumph said. "Your job is up for grabs every day, so you've got to take care of your body, you've got to prepare, you've got to know what to do. It is what everybody says it it."

While the SEC lives up to the hype of multiple national championship-winning teams and highly talented defensive backs, Rumph said he wouldn't want to be anywhere else. His impact on Georgia's offense may not have been made immediately, but that's part of the process.

"I feel like I made a great decision by coming here. I knew I made a great decision," Rumph said. "This is the stage you want to be on so you've got to prepare and sacrifice a lot of things to be on this stage."


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