Can Wide Receiver Jonathon Rumph Start for Georgia Bulldogs in 2013?

Daniel Shirey – USA TODAY Sports

Jonathon Rumph was rated as the No. 1 junior college wide receiver during this year’s recruiting cycle and had his pick of suitors for his talents. He ultimately chose to sign with the Georgia Bulldogs to play with Aaron Murray in his senior season and try and get the Dawgs that elusive SEC title. But will Rumph even be able to crack the starting lineup in Athens next fall?

It’s no secret that JUCO transfers aren’t signed to sit on the bench, and Rumph’s prodigious talents will make it even more difficult to sit him. At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, he is a huge target in the passing game and is a complete receiver. He has great hands, runs great routes, can go up and get the ball in a crowd and is a constant threat after he catches the ball to break off a big play. His combination of height, strength, speed and hands make him a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive backs, especially close to the endzone.

But Georgia has a pretty talented group returning on offense already that Rumph will have to overtake. The Bulldogs return three of their top five receivers from last season including junior wide receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Michael Bennett. The pair combined for 64 catches, 917 yards and eight touchdown passes and looked poised to step into the leadership roles left by the graduation of Tavarres King and Marlon Brown. While neither Mitchell nor Bennett possess the physical skills of Rumph, they do have two years of experience in the system under their belts.

That experience could turn out to be the difference. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo has raved about Rumph’s physical ability, but he’s also noticed that he’s thinking too much when he’s on the field. That uncertainty slows him down, throws off the timing and causes all kinds of problems. Bobo says that Rumph is struggling to grasp the system right now, but should be better once fall camp opens in August after he’s had some time to digest everything.

Rumph is ready and willing to put in the work to earn his spot and he’ll need to hit the playbook hard over the summer if he hopes to become a featured part of the offense in 2013. One way or the other, his skill set is too good to not see some time next fall, but just how much time is left up to Rumph and his ability to grasp the offense.

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