ATHENS — A true sentence from last spring: Terry Godwin was Georgia’s second-leading receiver last year, and the first guy has departed for the NFL.
And now this spring, another true sentence: Terry Godwin was Georgia’s second-leading receiver last year, and the first guy has departed for the NFL.
The first time, that’s cause for optimism about a big sophomore season. The second time, it leads to wonder why Godwin didn’t jump into the leading role, and what that says about whether he will this year.
“I wouldn’t say anything really held me back, or anything like that,” Godwin said. “I’m just here to do what the coaches tell me, and help the team out.”
In Godwin’s defense, he did actually increase his catches and receiving yards, albeit slightly: From 35 to 38 catches and from 379 to 397 yards. But he also went from 2 touchdown catches to zero. After a freshman season in which he also ran and passed for a touchdown, the only way Godwin saw the end zone last year was by returning an onside kick to ice the win at South Carolina.
There’s also cause to wonder whether Godwin’s frame (5-foot-11 and 185 pounds) will hold him back, given the emphasis Kirby Smart and Georgia’s coaches have put on wanting bigger receivers. Could he once again be leapfrogged, this time by senior Javon Wims (6-4, 215), sophomore Riley Ridley (6-2, 197) or even freshman Jeremiah Holloman (6-2, 195)?
“Everyone wants to be that go-to guy,” Godwin said. “But you have to fill in that role that coaches want you to play in that role that the playbook is going to allow you to play in. So I mean I just want to fill in that role, be that guy that coaches want me to be.”
The prevailing sentiment, expressed even by Smart and Wims, is that it will be a committee approach this year. One guy could be the most targeted one week, then another the next week, and so on. Especially if the tight ends and tailbacks become more involved in the passing game.
But there are positive signs this spring that Godwin will at least not be lost in the shuffle, and could yet emerge as The Guy.
For one thing, Godwin is standing out for reasons other than pass catching this spring. In the past, his slight frame and blocking abilities kept him off the field in many situations. But after the scrimmage this past Saturday, Smart recalled Godwin blocking well on a bubble screen.
The better a receiver is at blocking, the more he will be on the field. Malcolm Mitchell, for instance, was the team’s best blocking receiver in 2015, when he was also the team’s leading receiver, ahead of Godwin.
“I do think, when it comes to our wideout group, we’ve got a by-committee group, and Terry is really doing a good job of being a leader and challenging those guys, a lot more so than he did at this time last year,” Smart said. “He’s coming into his own when it comes to work ethic.”
Even with Georgia’s emphasis on bigger receivers, Godwin’s size doesn’t have to be a detriment. It wasn’t last year for 5-foot-7 Isaiah McKenzie, over whom Godwin practically towers by comparison.
There’s also a sign that Godwin, affable and unassuming during interviews, wants to take a major step this year. It came in the last word of the following quote, when asked what he was working on this spring.
“Just the little things, he said. “Just what I believe is going to make me great.”
G-Day is scheduled for April 22. Georgia’s spring game kicks off at 2 p.m. and will be televised on SEC Network.