As spring practice rolls on for Georgia’s football team, several of the group’s newest faces have already begun to make a positive impression on coaches and teammates.
One of the most intriguing new names on the roster has been Jonathon Rumph, the 6-foot-5, 218-pound wide receiver signed from the JUCO ranks this offseason.
“Rumph is [a] guy that physically, he's there,” tight end Arthur Lynch said. “We call him ‘Marlon Two.’ He looks just like Marlon [Brown], runs like Marlon, catches the ball like Marlon. Once he gets a grasp of the offense, he'll take off.”
Many expect Rumph to play an important role for a Bulldogs offense that will graduate senior wideouts Tavarres King and Brown this spring, and his early performance has done nothing to dissuade those beliefs.
"Rumph's getting better and better,” quarterback Aaron Murray said. “He's someone that's just going to continue gaining more confidence with the playbook, with his route running. I think he caught a 30-40 yard touchdown today in practice.”
In other cases, early enrollee praise has nothing to do with play at all.
Freshman quarterback Brice Ramsey, who completed six passes but also threw three interceptions in Tuesday’s scrimmage, has caught the eyes of Lynch and his roommate, Murray.
“He's very cool, calm, collected,” Lynch said. “He's very nonchalant about how he goes about his business. A quiet kid, but he's very talented. I think for what he knows in the offense right now, he's got a pretty good grasp of it. Obviously he has a long way to go, but I think the talent's there.”
Murray agreed, citing the young signal-caller’s confidence and poise in practice thus far.
“We talk about Brice a lot. [Lynch] loves Brice. He thinks Brice has the most swag ever,” Murray said. “Brice does have some swag, I'm not going to lie. He just walks around like 'hey, I'm the man.' He's very cool, calm, collected. He's very chill. He's Joe Cool out there. Artie and I just sit back and watch him and laugh. This kid just doesn't get phased by anything. He's just out there playing ball, looks good.”
Theus returns to practice
Right offensive tackle John Theus made his first practice appearance of the spring since undergoing foot surgery earlier in the year.
“It felt good, definitely good to be back out there. No limping, the recover went well. Just trying to get back into the swing of things,” he said.
Primarily working with the second-string unit, Theus made it clear that the coaching staff wanted to ease him back onto the field in the aftermath of his recovery. Kenarious Gates and Xzavier Ward were the two first-team tackles.
“Today I worked with the two's mainly, and just got some reps there. I think the big thing today was just me getting back in there, trying to get after it,” he said.
Rome looks to build off late-season success
Redshirt freshman tight end Jay Rome didn’t see the field much to begin the 2012 season. But as the season progressed, his offensive contributions grew, as did his comfort in Mike Bobo’s system.
“I feel like as the year went on, I got better and better. Just getting that [game] experience,” Rome said. “It's one thing to practice and to learn everything you have to do in practice, but once you get out there on Saturday and you got guys moving around, especially in the SEC, the best conference in the country, it's just different.”
Rome said he has been trimming down this offseason in an attempt to improve his ability as a downfield pass-catching threat.
“I dropped a little bit of weight. I’m feeling a lot faster than I was last year, a lot more mobile,” he said. “I'm trying to redistribute [weight], put it in the right places. I've been working with the strength staff trying to put it back the right way.”