Javon Wims just made the 10-hour ride back home to Jacksonville from Hinds Community College in Raymond, Miss., on Tuesday. But he has one more trip to make before he gets to Athens and reports for duty as a Georgia football signee.
First, the 4-star wide receiver will make another six-hour drive to Atlanta. He plans to attend the graduation of one Brandon Sudge at Buford High School Friday night.
“I told him I was going to be there, so I’ll be there,” said Wims, the subject of a Next Generation story this morning on DawgNation.com. “He’s an awesome guy, an awesome personality. He lights up a room.”
You may recall the heartwarming story of Wims and his unlikely friend from Atlanta. Sudge, a student at Buford High School who has dealt with cerebral palsy since birth, doubled as a recruiting reporter for the website SicEmDawgs.com last fall and winter. It was in that capacity that Sudge met Wims, and the two became fast friends.
In fact, Wims’ leveraged his relationship with Sudge into getting Sudge an official visit of his own the same weekend Wims visited UGA in late January.
Since then, this odd couple has stayed in touch almost daily. Each has served as a motivational force for the other.
“We’ve both had battles physically, him with football and me walking and all that stuff. I feel like those are parallels that match us up,” Sudge said. “Seeing him on the field for Georgia inspires me up to keep going. And I’ve been keeping him motivated as well. Every time he says, ‘It’s hard here at Hinds,’ I try to motivate him and all that kind of stuff. Both of us are trying to get each other through our difficult times.”
Sudge has had his own sort of setback lately: He was unable to gain freshman admission at UGA. So instead of attending the school of his dreams right after high school, Sudge is going to be delayed. Instead, he’ll attend Georgia Gwinnett College for a year.
That’s yet another parallel that has galvanized the relationship between these two young men. Wims was out of a football for a year and attended two colleges before he could realize his dream of becoming a Division I football player. Likewise, Sudge’s dream of attending UGA and following the Bulldogs either as a reporter or in some official team capacity has been delayed. Sudge served the Buford Wolves as a football team manager.
“I told him when he didn’t get into Georgia, don’t be down about it. We just have to take different routes to get to where we want,” Wims said. “I had to go home, then to junior college. I never thought I’d be here. I said, ‘You just have to go to this one college. Keep your mind on your goal and your dream and you’ll get there. It’s just one hurdle.'”
Said Sudge: “I wasn’t too disappointed. Going in, I kind of had a feeling I wasn’t going to get an early offer. But I got a conditional acceptance, so I get to go in a year earlier than any other transfer would. So that helps me out a lot. I’m going to get there quicker and, at the same time, have another year at home to get acclimated to the college atmosphere.”
Sudge and Wims already got to spend a little time together. Both attended Georgia’s G-Day spring game at Sanford Stadium. In fact, Wims got him down on the field between the hedges.
Meanwhile, while remaining in Gwinnett County another year, Sudge will get to continue to hone his skills as a budding journalist. He landed a job as a correspondent for the local newspaper, Buford Weekly Illustrated.
But Friday night at Buford High, it will be Sudge who hopes to be in the news. It’s his intention to walk across the stage to receive his diploma. And it’s Wims’ intention to witness it in person.