ATHENS — Terry Godwin II had the opportunity to turn pro right out of high school. Four years later, Godwin’s planning to turn pro again.
In another sport.
Some people may have forgotten that Godwin was quite the baseball player coming out of Callaway High. In fact, the Atlanta Braves took a flyer on him and drafted the hard-throwing, base-stealing outfielder in the 33rd round of the 2015 baseball draft. But, as it turned out, the money commanded by the 990th selection in baseball wasn’t enough to lure away a 5-star wide receiver from the full scholarship he’d already signed by then with the Georgia Bulldogs.
In the end, Godwin’s ability to catch and run with a football was too great to keep him on a baseball diamond. After a couple of brief winter workouts with the Bulldogs’ baseball team in 2016 season, Godwin opted to stay on the gridiron and see where that took him.
Exactly where that will be, nobody is sure yet. After an extremely productive and successful career with Bulldogs, Godwin will be awaiting a call from the NFL during this weekend’s draft. Exactly when that will come and where he’s headed is anybody’s guess. But based on what what he did at UGA, it’d probably be worth it for a team to take a flyer on him.
While position mates Riley Ridley and Mecole Hardman — and tight end Isaac Nauta to some extent — are commanding most of the headlines for the Bulldogs in this year’s draft, Godwin has actually out-produced all of them significantly during his college career. And that’s despite a couple of significant injury bouts that either took him out of action or impeded him from playing at 100 percent.
Godwin closed the book on his college career with two catches for 33 yards against Texas in the Sugar Bowl. That gave him 134 receptions — 10th all-time in Georgia history — and exactly 1,800 receiving yards in his career. That’s almost twice the production of Hardman (60-961-11) and Nauta (68-905-8) and substantially more than Ridley (60-1,015-13) though with an extra year. Godwin also contributed on special teams as a punt and kickoff returner and recorded touchdowns on each.
“He is just a bright-eyed guy that loves to practice every day,” Kirby Smart said of Godwin last season. “You can put Terry in any position, and it works for him. He understands the game. And his leadership in that room with the wideouts has been tremendous for us.”
Unfortunately for Godwin, and for the Bulldogs, injuries kept his senior season from being what he had hoped. A calf injury in preseason camp forced Godwin to sit out the opener and play only sporadically the first half of Georgia’s season. He didn’t score until the sixth game of the season when he had two catches for 95 yards against Vanderbilt and really didn’t hit his stride until November.
Godwin was invited to the NFL Combine but didn’t turn a lot of heads there. He stood on his 4.55-second 40-yard dash time at UGA’s Pro Day and heads into this weekend not really knowing when he might get “the call.”
Regardless of what happens in this weekend’s draft, odds are good that Godwin will hook up with a team somewhere and probably make a roster.
And if it doesn’t work out in football, perhaps he can give that whole baseball thing another shot.
Here’s three things to know about Terry Godwin II:
Lots of keepsakes
Say what you will about Godwin, but the man knows how to turn it on whenever he needs to. As a freshman, he earned MVP honors for his performance in the TaxSlayer Bowl when caught a TD pass and threw a TD pass in a win over Penn State. Against Notre Dame in 2017, Godwin made one of the most spectacular catches in school history, a one-handed grab that was captured in pictures and paintings that now hang in the homes of hundreds of Georgia football fans. And then, after accepting an invitation from NFL scouts to play in the East-West Shrine Game, Godwin responded with four catches for 80 yards, two touchdowns and another MVP Award for the stocked-full trophy case back in Hogansville.
Probably most impressive thing about Godwin is the fact that he scored at Georgia in almost every way there is in football. He had 12 touchdown catches, one touchdown pass, one touchdown run, and one kickoff return for a touchdown. He had a 28-yard TD run as the quarterback out of the Wild Dawg formantion against Kentucky in 2015, a 44-yard TD pass to Malcom Mitchell out of the Wild Dawg against Penn State in the TaxSlayer Bowl later that season, and returned an attempted onsides kick by South Carolina 43 yards for a score in 2016. That means Godwin was a punt return and an interception return from hitting for the football cycle. As it was, he was responsible for 15 touchdowns in his UGA career.
Watch me block now
The transition from former coach Mark Richt to Smart didn’t go well initially for Godwin. Smart didn’t like the effort or execution Godwin put forth when it came to downfield blocking. The affected Godwin’s playing time in 2016, when Godwin started only four games after starting nine as a freshman. But Godwin experienced a dramatic turnaround on that front in 2017, and it manifested itself in more playing time as Godwin started every game but one.
“I tell you, when you go to practice it’s like night and day to me to watch that kid,” Smart said. “I was very honest about Terry playing tougher, playing bigger. The guy is blocking hard, he’s competing, he’s taking more reps. He’s such a better leader. I mean to see him grow up means the world to me, because I’ve seen that kid since his ninth grade year.”