ATHENS ― Georgia and Kentucky both will be bringing their own juice come kickoff on Saturday, but this isn’t a reference to the teams’ energy.
The two teams actually will be bringing out their own “Juice.”
Javon “Juice” Wims and Garrett “Juice” Johnson, two players with the same nickname and same position, will be on the field Saturday when Kentucky travels to Athens for the SEC East contest.
The game Saturday might as well be called “The Battle of the Juice.”
Wims and Johnson are both senior receivers, leading their teams in the receiving game. To make another connection, both were raised in Florida.
But something has to be different, and the question can be asked ― who is the better “Juice”?
So let’s compare, shall we?
Wims has a few inches and pounds on Johnson. Wims stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs 215 pounds while Johnson comes in at 5-11 and 175.
But there is something to be said about what Johnson has been doing at Kentucky throughout his career. In 2016, Kentucky’s “Juice” was the team’s leading receiver with 39 catches for 585 yards and 5 touchdowns. Through Kentucky’s first nine games this season, Johnson has 464 receiving yards on 42 catches and 2 touchdowns.
Johnson is the fourth player at Kentucky to reach 2,000 career receiving yards. He has 2,014 yards and needs 325 more yards this season to move up to the third on Kentucky’s career list.
So, Johnson definitely has made his mark at Kentucky. But what about Georgia’s “Juice”?
Well, Wims’ 2016 doesn’t look like Johnson’s, nor does his career. Wims transferred to Georgia from Hinds Community College before the 2016 season and finished with 17 catches for 190 yards and a touchdown. He saw time in Georgia’s 13 games but only started in three.
But this season, Wims has stepped up his game. Through 10 games, Wims has 27 catches for 471 yards and 5 touchdowns.
“He does a good job in what we call the 50/50 ball,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “He reacts, responds, snatches. That’s been a big help for us just because you take the 50/50 balls out of these games, they are some tight ballgames. He has been able to win those, and we need some more of that.”
Smart also commented on the progress he has seen from Wims in just two years playing at Georgia.
“I think he has improved immensely at attacking the ball and not letting the ball get into his body,” Smart said. “He has really become a hands receiver, which is really what you want.”
More than his receiving exploits, Wims takes pride in being an accomplished blocker and doing his part to help in the run game. When asked what he needed to do to make sure he is the better “Juice” on Saturday, blocking was one of the points he mentioned. That and, well, continuing to pull in the passes thrown to him.
Even though Johnson and Wims share a nickname, there won’t be a grudge match to decide who is the best “Juice” out on the field Saturday.
“You know?” Wims said. “Best of luck to that ‘Juice’ when it comes to Saturday, as well.”