Javon Wims is entering his second season with the Georgia football program. Yet his status as a senior, after transferring in from Hinds Community College, has his teammates looking up to him for guidance.
It is a role the 6-foot-4 wide receiver didn’t necessarily expect to take. But after he was called into the coaches’ office, Wims was told it was time to step up and take control of his position group.
Wims is also the only senior at receiver, making him a de facto option for teammates to turn to. He has consistently run with the first team since spring practice, making him one to watch on offense for the upcoming season.
“The team designated me as one of the team leaders,” Wims said. “It’s my responsibility, for the guys coming in now, to catch them up to speed – and to make sure the whole receiver corps focuses on our details.”
Wims remembers what it was like going from junior college to the SEC. It was a tough transition, which is similar to what each of Georgia’s four freshman receivers – Jeremiah Holloman, Mark Webb, Trey Blount and Matt Landers – are going through at the moment.
“I just let them know it’s going to be a process,” Wims said. “They’re used to being the man at their school. They have to come in a whole new system and learn to play at the Division I level, at the SEC level. It’s not going to come overnight, so stick with it. Everything will work out.”
Wims’ teammates have seen him get after others when something goes awry during practice.
Center Lamont Gaillard said Wims hasn’t been afraid to get on his fellow receivers if needed.
“He’s a great leader,” Gaillard said. “If things aren’t going right with the receivers, he gets them on track.”
When practicing plays, Wims has also done a good job ensuring everyone is lined up properly.
Running back Sony Michel, who has been practicing some as a slot receiver, said Wims always makes sure he’s in the correct spot before the snap.
“Javon is a great receiver. He’s doing a tremendous job of playing that leadership role,” Michel said. “Even when I line up in the slot, he’s communicating – ‘you’re on the ball, you’re on the ball,’ that kind of thing. Just overall, he’s been very vocal out there. He’s giving his all.”
Wims went through some growing pains during his first season, like any newcomer would. He didn’t play a snap against North Carolina in the season opener. He didn’t record a catch against Nicholls in the game after, although he laid a crushing block on a defender that helped spring Isaiah McKenzie for a touchdown.
Wims’ best game of the 2016 season came against Kentucky, which saw him go off for five catches and 90 yards. Wims caught his lone touchdown of the season against TCU in the Liberty Bowl.
While Wims finished the 2016 season with only 17 catches, 190 yards and the aforementioned score, he is expected to have an increased role this season.
“Last year was a learning experience,” Wims said. “It took a year to get everything, learn everything. I learned from last season and I’m going to hopefully improve.”