ATHENS — About that Brandon Sudge story. …
Lost in all the attention given to the disabled Buford senior who was unexpectedly granted the experience of taking an official visit to UGA this past weekend was the guy who ultimately granted Sudge that opportunity. Javon Wims, a four-star wide receiver prospect from Hinds Community College, was traveling back to Mississippi on Sunday and unable to weigh in on the initial story, which took the Internet by storm this past weekend.
To be clear, none of this happens if Wims doesn’t take it upon himself to ask Georgia and head coach Kirby Smart if he can invite the young recruiting reporter from Buford to join them for dinner on his official visit. Little did Wims know just how far the Bulldogs would run with it.
Not only did they invite Sudge and a friend to come along, they actually certified him with the NCAA as an official visitor and gave him the five-star treatment himself.
It all went over and beyond what Wims ever imagined.
“I never thought that would happen,” Wims said of the extent UGA took the experience. “I really didn’t. And I didn’t plan for it to hit the Internet like that. It was just something that we talked about; I’m glad he got some recognition from it. But I didn’t expect that.”
Not surprisingly, Wims revealed on Monday that he will sign with the Bulldogs over Miami and South Carolina. He’ll make it official during a ceremony at Hinds on Wednesday morning. But that decision wasn’t based on what Georgia did for Sudge.
In fact, Wims saw it as a bonus that Sudge got all the attention this past weekend and not him.
“That’s the upside,” he said by telephone from Vicksburg on Monday. “I didn’t want the attention. I’m glad it’s on him. I didn’t want any of it. That’s the best thing about it; it was all about him. He got a chance to ask a lot of questions. Some of the players talked to him, Sony Michel, Isaiah McKenzie. He was able to ask them the questions he wanted to ask them.”
It’s not as though Wims hasn’t benefited from it. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound receiver certainly has endeared himself to the Bulldog Nation. And his exploits have been widely circulated and celebrated on social media platforms the last couple of days as the story ricocheted through the recruiting networks.
But, again, Wims said that wasn’t his motivation.
“Yeah, on Twitter there were a lot of people applauding me. But, you know, it was just something that I did without thinking of the notoriety behind it,” Wims said. “I was just doing it because I know what he’s been through. He’s a super fan, so I just wanted him to experience something that I was going to experience for the first time.
“I wanted that night strictly for him. I know I’m gifted to be able to play football and I’m going to have plenty of other opportunities to talk and have the spotlight on me.”
Sudge, who has been a manager for Buford’s high school football team the past four years, has been dealing with cerebral palsy since birth. Georgia is his dream school but he has not yet earned admission. His hope is to study sports journalism and work for the Bulldogs as a manager.
“That’s what I want,” Wims said of Sudge’s pursuits. “I wanted him to talk about it. He told me he wanted to go to school at Georgia for journalism and everything. So I talked to him about that and I wanted him to kind of use this as a platform for trying to get where he wants to go and do what he’s trying to do. I know I’m going to have opportunities to do what I want to do. But if I can help one person do what he wants to do and tell his story, I’m fine with that.”
As one might imagine, the whole experience and unexpected relationship with Wims has been fairly mind-blowing for Sudge.
“Javon truly shows great character by carrying out a kind gesture,” Sudge said after his whirlwind weekend. “It’s just something you don’t see very often from a recruit in an attempt to make a college decision. Not only have I experienced one of the best nights of my life, but I’ve also gained a lifelong friend in Javon, a guy who will make a great impacts both on and off of the field. He’s a special young man.”
Yes, on this Brandon and I fully agree.