There is more to being a wide receiver than catching passes.
Terry Godwin admitted it took him two full seasons to realize this. A former five-star recruit out of Callaway, Godwin came to Georgia expecting to be a big-time playmaker. While Godwin has become a deep threat for Georgia, he also learned to love blocking by the start of his junior season.
With Georgia averaging 284 rushing yards per game, Godwin has been a big part of a receiving corps that has come to enjoy blocking the outside for a deep stable of backs.
“I finally bought into what (head coach Kirby) Smart has been coaching, since he got here and what he’s tried to instill in us,” Godwin said. “To go out there as a receiver and show physicality, it puts a lot of fear in that DB’s heart. As far as a DB, they never know if you’re going to come block them or go out for a pass because you’re always being physical throughout the whole game. That kind of wears down the defense.”
Georgia’s rushing attack has been so efficient that it has attempted 20 or fewer passes in six of its eight games. In fact, quarterback Jake Fromm only threw 11 passes in a win over Vanderbilt and seven throws against Florida.
Facing the Gators, Georgia’s run game was proficient from the start. So the Bulldogs elected to stick with it throughout the entire 42-7 win.
That has forced Georgia’s receiving group to become a selfless bunch ready to block the majority of games. Godwin has embraced that role wholeheartedly. And if any Georgia receiver doesn’t want to block, they’ll hear about it from the position group’s leaders.
“As a receiver, if you’re not willing to block, in that (meeting) room, we’re going to have something to say to you,” Godwin said. “That’s our identity. We’re going to come down and try to knock your head off.”
Smart credited the receivers for buying into a role that doesn’t bring a whole lot of limelight. As long as receivers keep buying into blocking, then they will be called on to make plays in the passing game when the time comes for it.
“They’ve matured because it’s not about them, it’s about the team,” Smart said. “There’s been no selfishness in that room, and that’s one of the things after the game, the first thing I did was commend the receivers because it’s not always in their DNA to be comfortable in that role. But they’ve also embraced that when they get their opportunities, they’re going to make the most of them. And some of them have done that, given the opportunity. They know the time and place is coming for them to make plays.”
When Godwin was a high school senior, he couldn’t have imagined he would have enjoyed blocking as much as he has. Like most high-profile high school athletes, Godwin was interested in personal stats and the attention that comes with catching passes for big plays.
As he’s gotten older, it has become a big part of his skill set.
“As a high school kid, you want to be the guy who gets all the passes and has all the fame,” Godwin said. “That’s just a high school mentality. As you grow and come onto the collegiate level, that changes. You get to know the nitty-gritty and know what you need to do.”
And Godwin has been able to do that as a junior this season. While he has just 16 catches in eight games, five of those have gone for touchdowns. His 23.1 yards per carry average is evidence of the deep-play potential he has brought to the offense this season.
More importantly, Godwin has been able to play a vital role in why Georgia’s run-game production has jumped from 50th in 2016 to 10th this year.
“Once the run gets started, the pass can come in if we need it,” Godwin said. “If we don’t need it, we can keep running it. As far as us receivers, we love it because that way we can show off our physicality.”