ATHENS — Georgia’s Jeremiah “J.J.” Holloman fielded the most important question first.
Should we call him Jeremiah or J.J.?
“Either one,” said the sophomore receiver from Covington. “Really, everybody’s starting to call me J.J., so J.J.’s fine.”
It goes either way at home as well for Jeremiah Joseph Holloman. But it depends.
“If it’s a serious conversation, she’ll say Jeremiah,” Holloman said of his mother, Oneida Holloman. “But if we’re just playing and stuff, she’ll say J.J.”
It’s definitely J.J. for the time being, for Holloman is playing a lot. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound wideout had his breakout game as a Georgia Bulldog this past Saturday. Holloman led the team with three catches for 90 yards in the 49-7 win over Middle Tennessee State. Included in that was a 65-yard catch and the first touchdown reception of his college career. It came on an 11-yard toss from quarterback Jake Fromm.
“I was actually just happy being there and being able to show what I’m capable of doing,” Holloman said. “But after the game, I just hit reset and am going back to the basics.”
Sticking to the basics has been a good strategy for Holloman so far. Just to get on bus with the Bulldogs as a wide receiver these days is challenging enough these days. Georgia dressed 20 against MTSU this past weekend and traveled 10 for its trip to Columbia, S.C., on Sept. 8.
There’s no guarantee the Bulldogs will take that many to Columbia, Mo., this coming Saturday. It’s a weekly competition based practice performance and whether or not they can make special teams contributions.
Holloman has been a special teams mainstay so far for Georgia. That helped him get into five games as a true freshman. Thanks to a strong preseason camp and good practices so far in 2018, Holloman has been able to advance up the depth chart and into the rotation at receiver.
Holloman’s now third among wideouts with five catches for 112 yards. He appears to be building a nice rapport with Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm, who hit him Saturday both on the 65-yard reception and the 11-yard scoring toss.
“It’s just about building trust with each other,” Holloman said. “That’s what makes it a good relationship between a receiver and quarterback. Being around him and him just having confidence in my routes and in the things I’m capable of doing is really all it is.”
Holloman’s touchdown made him one of three Georgia receivers to score their first career touchdowns on Saturday. Tyler Simmons (56-yard run) and Jayson Stanley (9-yard catch) also managed to get into the end zone.
“These guys work hard,” Fromm said. “We’ve thrown a lot of balls to each other, as far as 7-on-7 during the summer and this fall camp. Me and my guys are very familiar with each other, and it’s awesome to kind of see it click and work in the game. I think it’s hard work paying off. Everybody is buying into the system and it’s working out well.”
Georgia coach Kirby Smart — who always refers to him as J.J., by the way — said that 65-yard catch was a good example of the work Holloman and Fromm have been doing together. That was at least the second or third option for Fromm on that particular play.
“That was a big momentum play,” Smart said. “That was a really good ball, it was on time and it wasn’t the primary read. It may have been the second, third or fourth (option), so it was good for us to get some work in the vertical passing game.”
While Holloman clearly is an exceptional athlete, he’s also human. The U.S. Army All-American out of Newton County High admitted to not always being patient about how long it was taking for him to work his way into the Bulldogs’ offensive plans.
But, looking at it from his current perspective, it makes perfect sense to him now.
“Yeah, there was a little bit of frustration,” said Holloman, who had one catch for seven yards all last season. “But I got over it. Just being able to be around this group of guys and being able to learn and pickup from them is enough. It will either separate you or it’s going to make you better. Iron sharpens iron and that’s the opportunity I’ve gotten from being here.”
Holloman intends to maintain that attitude going forward. Georgia has a plethora of play-makers at the position he happens to play. All he can do is work as hard as he can in practice each week in the hopes that he’ll continue to be in the Bulldogs’ plans.
What happened against MTSU doesn’t change that.
“The game really didn’t make or break me,” Holloman said. “That’s just doing the things I do every day in practice. It just validates things for people outside the program. Everybody here knows what I’m capable of doing.”