One year has made a world of difference for Javon Wims.
At this time last March, Wims was nearing the end of his junior college stay at Hinds Community College in Raymond, Mississippi. By the time he arrived at Georgia, with a new coaching staff and offensive philosophy, the 6-foot-4 receiver had a lot to learn, as did everyone else.
Wims didn’t see much playing time early but came on strong by the end of his junior season. Reflecting on his first campaign at Georgia, Wims said he could have done more to see the field quicker. Seeing how it played out, Wims’ approach for his senior year is different.
“I didn’t take learning as seriously as I should have when I came in,” Wims said. “Once I took it seriously and knew what I was doing, everything came easy. Everybody is athletic, everyone has that athletic ability to be here. You just got to learn what you’re doing.”
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In Georgia’s first eight games of the 2016 season, Wims caught seven passes for 60 yards. His breakout game came on the road in a win over Kentucky, with Wims going for five catches for 90 yards.
Wims caught his first career touchdown in a Liberty Bowl win over TCU. While the Georgia coaching staff told him what he needed to do to see the field more, Wims said he needed to take initiative to earn the additional playing time he eventually received.
“The coaches are going to tell you what they want,” Wims said. “They want the best for you. They’re going to tell you what they want and their vision to have for you. Ultimately, you have to make it happen.”
Thus far in spring practice, Wims has been running with the first three receivers, alongside Terry Godwin and Michael Chigbu. With a year of SEC football under his belt, Wims feels better about his situation.
“I’m not content, but I’m very comfortable going out there playing,” Wims said. “This time last year, I was a Juco and I was getting ready to come in. It’s a whole different level of confidence coming in. I just know what I’m doing.”
With many of the same pieces in the passing game back, along with it being offensive coordinator Jim Chaney’s second season, Wims is expecting marked improvement across the board. In 13 games a year ago, Georgia finished 10th in the SEC with 193.5 passing yards per game.
During last Thursday’s practice, in which select 11-on-11 drills were open to reporters, Georgia’s offense moved at a fairly fast pace. Having the knowledge of Chaney’s offense, combined with a few tweaks, Wims is optimistic that the passing game will improve substantially in 2017.
“Everybody was new. I was inconsistent last year,” Wims said. “I didn’t play a lot in the beginning and I started playing a lot towards the end. Now, we’re going to be very familiar with each other.”
If a big leap in the passing offense is to happen, the Bulldogs will need to figure out a way to replace the production receiver Isaiah McKenzie gave them a year ago. McKenzie, who led Georgia’s targets with 44 catches, 633 yards and seven touchdowns, did most of his work out of the slot but did line up on the outside occasionally.
Wims noted that receiving production will likely start out by committee. Given the looks of it, Wims will have a great chance at being quite involved as one of Georgia’s focal points.
“I could be the man one game, Terry could be the man one game, or we could all eat in the same game,” Wims said. “Everybody has that ability to be that player.”