WR Rantavious Wooten emerges from lost season healthy and refocused

Georgia's receiving corps should benefit greatly this fall from Rantavious Wooten's 26 games of experience. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Georgia's receiving corps should benefit greatly this fall from Rantavious Wooten's 26 games of experience. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

ATHENS – Much has been written about Georgia’s wide receiving corps losing Malcolm Mitchell to the defensive said of the ball. But little has been said about the addition made to that group since last season.

Rantavious Wooten is back in the fold. And while that might not seem a big deal outside the program, getting back a player with 26 games of experience under his belt is a big deal inside Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall.

“When Rantavious has been healthy, he’s made plays,” Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “He’s shown the ability to get open. He’s shown quickness. We’ve got a lot of taller, longer guys that are striders. [Tavarres King] has some of the quick-twitch stuff and so does Rantavious. It’s good to have a guy like that we can put out there.”

Wooten’s just happy to be on the field, period. His was a mysterious disappearance from the Bulldogs’ plans last season. He was involved what was initially thought to be a minor car accident the fourth week of last season. As it turned out, that incident ended up sidelining him for the rest of his junior season.

Wooten was granted a medical redshirt and now has two years left with the Bulldogs. But for a month or so in the middle of last season, Wooten didn’t know what was going to happen with his football career.

“I was kind of upset when it all happened,” said Wooten, who played in 23 games his first two seasons and has 19 career catches with four touchdowns. “I wasn’t sure about redshirting. But I tried to stay positive and look at it as an opportunity to improve myself and have fun playing football for the University of Georgia again.”

Wooten was involved in a four-car accident on Baxter Street in Athens three days before the Bulldogs were scheduled to travel to Ole Miss. Headed east on Baxter Street, Wooten ran into the car ahead of him at a traffic light, causing a chain-reaction collision, according to police. Wooten was charged with following too closely.

No injuries were reported at the scene. But Wooten woke up the next morning hurting and generally “feeling horrible.” Subsequent examinations revealed a concussion. He was a late scratch for the trip to Oxford.

“At first I thought I was going to be out like a week or so or something like that,” said Wooten, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound junior from Belle Glade, Fla. “But the symptoms didn’t go away. Every time they gave me the concussion test I couldn’t pass it. They were sending me to different doctors around here to get some perspectives on what was wrong with me. All of them said not to do any physical activity at all. I couldn’t even get on a bike or jog. They completely shut me down.”

At that point, Wooten had but two catches in the first three games (though one was for a 26-yard touchdown against South Carolina). In the meantime, the freshman Mitchell had developed into a reliable threat. He had 14 catches over the next three games and 25 the first half of the season.

“That was the hardest thing to deal with ever in my life,” Wooten said. “It was the first time since like middle school or something that I wasn’t playing some sport at all times. I didn’t know how to deal with it. It was tough, man.”

Out of the ashes of that lost season has emerged a focused and rededicated Wooten for this one. He has been making statements early in the Bulldogs’ camp, laying out for balls during pass skeleton drills and generally working hard to remind coaches and teammates he deserves to be in the playing rotation.

“We haven’t forgotten about ‘Woot,’” said fellow wideout Marlon Brown. “He’s looked real, real good. When he had to miss last year, it kind of hurt him a little bit. We went on a 10-game winning streak and he wasn’t part of it. So I feel like this year he’s coming back and trying to be a guy on the team we can depend on. He’s back.”

Said head coach Mark Richt: “I think he appreciated the fact that he got the redshirt and I think he realized how close he [came] to the end of his career and how important it is to make the best of it. He looks like he’s in tremendous shape. According to the guys, compared to what the old Wooten was, it was night and day as far as they type of work he put in this summer.”

Wooten said he can validate those observations.

“I told [Aaron] Murray when we were throwing this summer, ‘every practice I get that’s going to be my game day’ because I missed so much time last fall and in the spring,” Wooten said. “I’ve been playing sports too long for me to not be getting after it. I’m going out there every day like it’s game day.”

He also thinks the Bulldogs’ receiving corps is being underestimated with Mitchell temporarily out of the mix.

“We have a lot of guys who can play and have experience,” Wooten said. “Christian Conley, T.K., Marlon, [Michael] Bennett, there’s a lot of guys that can go in there and have some fun. So if Malcolm needs to go to the other side and contribute so we can win, we’re fine with that. If he comes back to play with us, we’re fine with that, too. He’s helping us either way.

“Our plan is to go out there and prove we’re the best wide receiving corps in the nation.”

MORE GEORGIA FOOTBALL COVERAGE

86 comments Add your comment

AugustaDawg

August 9th, 2012
6:20 am

Glad he’s back. GATA

AugustaDawg

August 9th, 2012
6:21 am

And first 

JoeyHanie

August 9th, 2012
6:22 am

Goodluck Woot!!! Go Dawgs GATA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AugustaDawg

August 9th, 2012
6:22 am

Hope to say Wooooooooooooooooooooooten a lot this year.

FLORIDA DAWG

August 9th, 2012
6:22 am

LET THE VBIG DAWGS AWAKE

Paddy

August 9th, 2012
6:52 am

It is always good news when the ‘light finally goes on’ for one of our players..

Destin Dawg

August 9th, 2012
6:58 am

Great TEAM attitude… good group of receivers… I like the nick names T.K… Woot… Marlon is going to live up to his potential this year !!

JB

August 9th, 2012
7:05 am

DGD…… Go get’em.

Spike

August 9th, 2012
7:29 am

I wondered what happened to him last year. Glad he is back in the hunt!!

Coraline

August 9th, 2012
7:41 am

Wooten was involved in a four-car accident on Baxter Street in Athens three days before the Bulldogs were scheduled to travel to Ole Miss. Headed east on Baxter Street, Wooten ran into the car ahead of him at a traffic light, causing a chain-reaction collision, according to police. Wooten was charged with following too closely.

Based on usual UGA behavior, he was probably blotto drunk or stoned out of his mind. I wonder how much pain and suffering his recklessness inflicted on the innocent people in the other cars. That’s the story you ought to be covering.

A. Bishop

August 9th, 2012
7:58 am

Our receiving corps is very underrated and young. They will open a lot of eyes this year and for the next few years to come. 22 days.

Big Dawg Deep

August 9th, 2012
8:05 am

I remember watching R.Wooten warmup last year with all the receivers. He was always the one who threw the ball back to the guy beside the qb way down field. I was thinking he could be a qb as well.

jrmdvm1

August 9th, 2012
8:10 am

Coraline, it is my belief that, based on your post, you have just committed libel against all who have ever been associated with UGA. Your post is not based on facts and had malicious intent. I am going to attempt to locate you and file a libel lawsuit against you on behalf of all of us who have attended UGA. Did you make any attempt to find out the details of that accident? I don’t think so….so your post was entirely malicious. The AJC will be getting a request from an attorney soon to give us whatever information they have to allow us to identify you. See you in court.

bitter safety belt

August 9th, 2012
8:23 am

GOOD LUCK WOOT————-WEAR A HELMET WHILE DRIVING THIS YEAR—hahaha

————Might be the best recieving corp —EVER in UGA history

kingdaddy

August 9th, 2012
8:23 am

Coraline’$ knocked the frick out, lol…

bitter safety belt

August 9th, 2012
8:30 am

@Coralina—You over WEIGHT, buck tooth, pig smell-in, bamma turd

——-Bit__ go back inside your TRAILER and turn on JERRY SPRINGER

grab a gallon of ice cream and continue the quest of trying to reach

———350lbs so you can try and compete for a starting D-line job

—————for your lord —-SABAN —The LITTLE USED CAR SALESMAN

———–TUSK–UR—LOOSER

oakwood dawg

August 9th, 2012
8:33 am

Coraline–The story we should be covering is how many smart A$$holes like you get on our blog. You must be a humble bumble fan but wait —thats not possible cause you are too dumb. Therefore, you must be a Gayturd.

kingdaddy

August 9th, 2012
8:36 am

Coraline,
Don’t fret, hang around. There’s usually a bail-bondsman or two trolling the blog. Just remember to not smile when they snap your picture. Try to look tough sweety, lol…

bitter safety belt

August 9th, 2012
8:42 am

DAWG FAMILY RULES THE –AJC– Dont TREAD ON US— It maybe painful—

kingdaddy

August 9th, 2012
8:46 am

You gotta love all these flyby hit & run artist that love to keep changing their names as they hurl insults at kids from behind a keyboard. What a bunch of cowards…

CHDawg

August 9th, 2012
8:48 am

Big Dawg, he was a QB in HS, I believe. I have wondered why they don’t use his arm on some end around stuff, or a double throw. Wooten has always had a spark about him. You feel like there is a whole lot of talent there waiting to express itself. Dialing his work ethic up a couple of notches could finally unlock it this year. I personally think we have a ton of talent at receiver. Scott Wesley, Conley, Brown, Wooten, King, and Bennett could all be very strong receivers. We are so deep, I think UGA could go to a no-huddle shotgun rotating 3-deep receivers every play. We could beat a lot of teams because they couldn’t run with us.

kingdaddy

August 9th, 2012
8:53 am

Woot, Woot, Woot…

Nick

August 9th, 2012
8:53 am

Good deal. Good Dawg! Look forward to seeing you have two big seasons.

Dawg-Gawn

August 9th, 2012
8:58 am

Woot should be the holder for UGA PK’s………. pay back USCe …. just saying!

dawgfan

August 9th, 2012
9:09 am

“I wonder how much pain and suffering his recklessness inflicted on the innocent people in the other cars.”

I don’t know, but it probably pales in comparison to the pain and suffering that sniveling little crybaby Tech fans experience every last Saturday in November. I can only imagine how helpless and miserable it must feel to be a Tech fan. What a futile enterprise.

The story that the AJC needs to cover is why the joke on North Avenue even has a football team. It seems to serve no purpose. Honestly, who would miss it? Tech fans would pretend to, but deep down inside they would feel a great sense of relief that its finally all over.

True story.

Top Dawg

August 9th, 2012
9:18 am

Great article Chip! Keep’em coming… GO DAWGS!!

Joey

August 9th, 2012
9:19 am

Good news.

Boy this is good stuff you’re giving us daily, Chip.

Good job.

DIT

August 9th, 2012
9:26 am

“Coraline,
Don’t fret, hang around. There’s usually a bail-bondsman or two trolling the blog. Just remember to not smile when they snap your picture. Try to look tough sweety, lol…”
_____________________

That was funny! Thanks for the laugh kingdaddy. It’s a wonder why some people feel the need to post the garbage they post!

DIT

August 9th, 2012
9:28 am

Someone posted earlier asking what about Jay Rome? Good question, what is going on with him. I have not heard anything on him.

G-Dawg

August 9th, 2012
9:31 am

Hunker Down Woot!! Looking forward seeing you showcase your skills…another athlete from the muck down in Fla. Alotta talent from that area!!

Coraline's Ex-Husband

August 9th, 2012
9:32 am

Coraline – you’re an idiot. If he was drunk and/or stoned he would have been arrested. Accidents happen. Get over yourself and send me my alimony check.

I have been counting on him for two years

August 9th, 2012
9:42 am

I know that Belle Glade turns out quality ball players. I have been wanting to see him do his thing since he signed with UGA.

Good luck Wooten.

Go Dogs.

Norris

August 9th, 2012
9:54 am

I’m glad Rantavious is doing well. He is a good guy and I hope he shines this year! I really don’t get the losers that get on a bulldog blog and comment. There’s lots of teams that I do not like. I spend not a second writing comments on their walls. It says a lot about people who do!

WDE

August 9th, 2012
9:57 am

Glad to see that he id fully recovered and seemingly very aware of how close to ending his career he was. Seem like he has really dug deep to improve his skills and get playing time…Best of luck Rantavious…Go Dogs !

Big Crimson 75

August 9th, 2012
9:58 am

Congrats to the young man for making it back.
Tell me dog fans — with Malcolm Mitchell headed over to play D, who’s gonna be the big play-maker outside? Seems as though aside from Tevares King, their is little to zero experience @ WR.
UGA should play Bama/LSU ball!!!!
Run, Run, punt & play to the strength of the Team(Defense)!!
The more you throw, the more likely you turn the ball over.
Murray had nice stats last yr, aside from the rather heavy amount of turn-overs.

kingdaddy

August 9th, 2012
10:00 am

Thanks DIT, its much too early to be too serious. In answer to your question/statement, “it’s a wonder”: jealousy, spite, animosity,hostility, enmity, animus, dislike, ill-will, hatred, resentment, rancour, pettiness, antagonism, internal rejection or denial in psychology, unfriendliness, stupidity, ignorance, narrow-mindedness, bigotry, obstinant, intolorance, stubborn, prejudice,and a general lack of character. Also much self-loathing and they probably have a tiny Johnson, lol and no sense of humor…

DawginLex

August 9th, 2012
10:01 am

hey Big Crimson

NCAA in Memphis today?

Your neighbors in trouble?

Top RB recruit to the Barn driving around in a brand new sports car and momma has $135,000 in the bank that she said she inherited

LOL

Ty

August 9th, 2012
10:02 am

Big Cremson 75

Why do you care???
Obviously you don’t know the depth chart at WR’s at UGA. Your just wanting to come on here and spew your trash. Please go find a Bama blog.

Big Crimson 75

August 9th, 2012
10:02 am

King — what up playa

DIT

August 9th, 2012
10:03 am

“Top RB recruit to the Barn driving around in a brand new sports car and momma has $135,000 in the bank that she said she inherited.”
_____________

Hmmmm. Wonder what if, or if anything will come of this. Who’s the RB?

Big Crimson 75

August 9th, 2012
10:06 am

Lex — beautiful. Are you surprised?

Spanky

August 9th, 2012
10:07 am

Gotta love these types of stories! They offset the “I’m not getting playing time, so I’m outskins!”..stories! Way to go, Woot!

Someone asked about Jay Rome earlier..anybody know why he wasn’t in the mix at yesterday’s scrimmage??

Big Crimson 75

August 9th, 2012
10:08 am

yea, who’s the player? I see no one from their ‘13 class from Memphis.
Is it Cameron Toney? I know they’ve paid him & Rueben & ………..!!!

DIT

August 9th, 2012
10:09 am

@Big Crimsom 7

From what I’m seeing the WR spot is not really the question with us at UGA it’s the play of Murray and, as you stated, being able to run the ball. Until UGA reaches a 200+ average running the ball/game we will not be on the same level as Bama or LSU. And don’t even get me started on special teams.

DIT

August 9th, 2012
10:11 am

sorry left off the 5

kingdaddy

August 9th, 2012
10:11 am

BC
We agree to agree today my friend. I like ball-control and using swing-passes, halfback/fullback-passes, screens to work the edge and spread the D, then pop it between the tackles. Once you get them loaded up on the line, you hit your tight-ends or T.K., M.M. 4 TDs!!! Keep our Defense fresh and mad and not gassed in the 4th…

DawginLex

August 9th, 2012
10:17 am

big crimson

not surprised if true

No links

Just eyewitness accounts from folks on other boards

DawginLex

August 9th, 2012
10:19 am

Javon Robinson

Big Crimson 75

August 9th, 2012
10:21 am

DIT — the coverage units will be taken care of this yr. Using a few defensive starters will solve that problem.
2 Freshman kickers!!!!! That could be a problem.

Big Crimson 75

August 9th, 2012
10:23 am

Lex — Memphis has always been hot spot for illegal activity in the recruiting game.
Pre & post Albert Means.