ATHENS -- Rantavious Wooten has no memory of the accident. He says he wasnt texting or on the phone, but he only knows that because his phone was in the console when he came to.
All I remember is when I woke up, I guess I had blacked out, he said. I noticed a police officer coming to my car, asking if I was all right. I knew I had gotten in a car accident. But I didnt feel like anything was wrong.
Then-teammate Jordan Love had to tell Wooten he had cuts in his forehead, making him realize his head hat hit the windshield. Later, the Georgia receiver was diagnosed with a concussion, which proved to end his 2011 season.
But in Georgias first game of the 2012 season, a healthy Wooten hauled in a 38-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Murray, helping confirm to the seventh-ranked Bulldogs what they expected all along. They have a pretty good group of receivers.
Their counterparts at Missouri might get more press. Freshman Dorial Green-Beckham was the nations top overall recruit, and his 6-foot-6 frame on film is giving Georgia cornerbacks headaches. He joined a talented group of Tigers receivers, led by senior T.J. Moe and Marcus Lucas, who is 6-5.
Green-Beckham only had three catches in Missouris opening win over Southeastern Louisiana. But he still made an impression on the Bulldogs.
Its gonna be a good challenge, said Georgia cornerback Damian Swann, who figures to match up often with Green-Beckham if Malcolm Mitchell (sprained ankle) cant play. Very big kid. Very physical kid. Kid can play. Thats why you play in this conference, to match up with the best.
He really stretches the field, Georgia inside linebacker Christian Robinson said. They like putting him in the middle of the field and having him run against linebackers. Thats just normal, trying to find mismatches. Id say why not. Theyre the team thats different from anybody else in the league. Why not see how it matches up against defenses that dont play (against) that very often.
But Georgia hopes to create its own mismatches -- namely with speed.
Senior Tavarres King is emerging as the go-to receiver that the team needs. He has more than 300 receiving yards in his past two games, going back to the Outback Bowl. The 6-0 King isnt tall, but hes not short either and has shown a good ability to get open all over the field.
We need him to be an elite receiver, Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. Weve talked about that a lot in the preseason about his consistency, and we need him to pick up where he played at the end of last year, and we need him to be very productive for us this season.
Kings emergence is also important because it helps fill a void left by Mitchell, the teams top playmaker at receiver last year. Mitchell could still end up moving back to receiver, but thats up in the air at the moment.
Its not just King. The Bulldogs are feeling even better about their depth at receiver, with sophomores Michael Bennett and Chris Conley, and senior Marlon Brown, if he can manage to stay healthy. Those three specialize in short to mid-range catches, but the Bulldogs feel they have downfield ability too.
Then there is the re-emergence of Wooten. The 5-10 junior took a medical redshirt last season, after he had seemed on the verge of breaking out. He hauled in a long touchdown pass in a loss to South Carolina.
Then came the accident. Wooten said he hit the car ahead of him, and a concussion was diagnosed a short time later. It lingered, and it was only in the latter half of the season that the team decided to give up on playing him.
Wooten called it the worst experience of his life. But over time he came to see the positive side of it.
I was mad at everybody, blaming everybody, basically. But I took it as a second chance, a blessing, he said. Maybe this isnt the worst thing ever.