Back Wims Ready to Make Most of Next Opportunity

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Wims Ready to Make Most of Next Opportunity

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Javon Wims may not have taken the traditional route to stardom, but his stop-and-go will still come with a chance at a lifelong dream.

Every stop I made, every obstacle I had to climb over, made me the player and the person I am.
~Javon Wims

Javon Wims had a breakout senior season, leading Georgia with 45 receptions, 720 yards and seven touchdowns. He, in a run-heavy offense, was responsible for over 27% of the team's downfield production, all while the Bulldogs advanced all of the way to the national championship game. A big play-threat known for his acrobatics, Wims, at 6'4'', 215 pounds, is the next-level prototype. Ahead of the NFL Combine and Georgia's pro day, he is ready to prove his athleticism is just the beginning.  

The pathway to prominence was, at times, a non-traditional one for Wims, who has both a great appreciate for where he is and a burning desire to do even more.

Growing up with a focus on basketball, Wims, still developing as a high school senior, played just one season of prep football. He initially signed with NAIA Belhaven, catching merely seven passes for 55 yards before getting hurt. Wims left the program, came back home and joined a new team: the workforce. He took on different jobs before pursuing another chance on the gridiron. Ultimately, Wims ended up at Hinds C.C. in Mississippi. He, there, started to realize his full potential and progress into one of the top JUCO prospects in the country. 

After a relatively long and winding road, Wims settled in at Georgia, finding a home and finding his comfort zone as an ultra-talented late-bloomer. Wims started to emerge midway through the 2016 season. He caught five passes for 90 yards in a win at Kentucky in late November. In a Liberty Bowl victory over TCU, Wims caught a go-ahead touchdown pass for the Bulldogs, the first score of his career. As Georgia, under new head coach Kirby Smart, found its momentum, Wims was part of the reason why.

Interestingly, Wims caught the final touchdown pass of Jacob Eason's Bulldog career and the first of Jake Fromm's; a 34-yard scoring strike to Wims helped jump-start the Fromm era in the season-opener against Appalachian State.

Wims made the most of his senior year. Against rival Florida in Jacksonville, where Wims played his high school football at nearby Ed White, he helped start a route with a dynamic 17-yard touchdown grab. Similarly, Wims scored early, this time from 21 yards out, in a blowout win at Georgia Tech. He, in one of the biggest games in Georgia history, caught a critical fourth quarter touchdown pass in the Rose Bowl win over Oklahoma. From the triumph over the Gators to the semifinal pairing, Wims scored in five of seven games down the stretch.   

Remarkably, the only other UGA wide receiver over the last ten seasons with at least 45 grabs and seven touchdowns at 16 yards per reception is A.J. Green in 2008. 

"I pride myself on making the most of opportunities," Wims explained. "Every opportunity I got, I just tried to make a play."

The next stop for Wims is the NFL. Recent projections have him being selected as high as the third round in the draft. The professional prototype is only likely to climb up draft boards as April approaches, with the combine and pro day awaiting as potential springboards into the national conversation. Given his relative football inexperience, and the corresponding room for continued growth, Wims has an upside much higher than most of his peers. 

Already, Wims is highly-regarded for his physical gifts. There are a number of viral highlights that clearly display that ability. He is ready to prove he is the complete package out wide.

"I am more than just a jump-ball guy. I am a route-runner. I can block. I can take a short pass for a touchdown or make it a long completion," Wims detailed. "I'm diverse."

There is growing anticipation around Wims' future workouts. Training continues, with the goal of showcasing even more than what the tape overwhelmingly has. As he works on specific details in preparation for upcoming evaluations, Wims, after leading the SEC Champions in receiving, still has more to prove. He is optimistic and excited for the challenges that await.

"I think there are certain things I didn't get to show in the college game," Wims continued.

What has been on display has interest rising. Wims, while putting his talents on display, helped Georgia to one of its greatest seasons ever. Though injured in the national championship game, he was instrumental in bringing balance to the Bulldogs, helping Fromm, a true freshman, find his rhythm throwing the football downfield. With Wims as his number one target, Fromm ranked eighth nationally with a passer rating of 160.09.

Wims played a leading role in Georgia's return to prominence.

"From the inside, we just had to change the culture and I think we shifted the culture the right way," Wims added. "It really was a dream come true."

As Wims transitions to football's highest level, he does so just now hitting his stride. Looking back, Wims has a conference championship ring, a place in Rose Bowl history and a legacy that won't be leaving Athens anytime soon; looking forward, there is nothing but open field ahead. Wims may not have taken the traditional route to stardom, but his stop-and-go will still come with a chance at a lifelong dream.  

For all of Wims' dynamic attributes, perspective is one of his best traits.

"When I was going through different school changes and struggling, it seemed like it was going slower than ever," Wims reflected on his career. "Now, looking back on it, it definitely flew by and I wouldn't change anything that was done. Every stop I made, every obstacle I had to climb over, made me the player and the person I am."

Wims, as a talented wide receiver, has all of the measurables. With one of the most unique prospect in the entire draft, however, there is so much more that makes him special.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports