Georgia wide receiver Terry Godwin finds himself in an unusual spot with the Bulldogs.
Last year, Godwin was a true freshman who faced the challenge of breaking into the lineup and keeping up in the SEC. Now, he stands as the team’s most proven wide receiver.
In between then and now was a solid year for the former Callaway star. Godwin recorded 35 receptions for 379 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2015 to finish as the team’s second-leading receiver behind senior Malcolm Mitchell. Godwin capped off his first year with an MVP performance, piling up 102 total yards along with both a receiving touchdown and passing touchdown in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
Godwin said he thinks having last season under his belt will be pivotal in making 2016 a big year.
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“I would say a year makes a very big difference,” Godwin said. “You know the speed of the game, and you know exactly what the coaches want.”
While Godwin is the top receiver remaining from last year, he’s still one of the youngest. With a lot to learn, he explained he’s still looking at the older receivers on the team for more valuable lessons. There’s also the newcomers, such as Tyler Simmons and junior college transfer Javon Wims, who can also help his game.
Fellow sophomore receiver Michael Chigbu said he has witnessed Godwin improving during the preseason. With a new system to learn with offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, Chigbu said Godwin has been learning more of the playbook as camp has progressed.
Godwin was very hesitant to laud his own ability, instead complimenting the entire receiving corps. It’s a mindset that Chigbu said carries over to the field, where he’s seen the 19-year-old working on his own game while pushing the entire team to improve.
“He understands he has to work on his craft for the team to be better,” Chigbu said. “Terry is a very, very good wide receiver.”
That being said, head coach Kirby Smart wants even more from Godwin.
“I've seen Terry up and down,” Smart said. “I know the athlete Terry is and the athlete Terry can be, but Terry needs to get a little more consistency. He has to block with the same vigor he runs the route with. He has to practice starts and take-offs and all the little fundamentals. Terry can't be a great player until he does all those little things that he's not doing all of right now.”
Godwin reaffirmed that he’s working on his blocking as well as ball security, saying Chaney has put a big emphasis on it this fall. In terms of blocking, Godwin said the defensive backs have been a big help for the receivers, who have faced the challenge of slowing them down on a regular basis.
Godwin opted not to praise himself when asked about what he’s gotten better at, instead saying the entire receiving corps has made improvements since preseason practice began. He sounded pleased with the receivers’ play in the team’s first scrimmage last Saturday and added the team came together more than it had all fall.
The sophomore may want to leave the receivers lumped together, but he’s certainly expected to be the go-to guy at the position. With uncertainty at quarterback and injury concerns at running back, it’s imperative Godwin becomes an accountable receiver in order for the offense to be more productive than it was a season ago.
At this point, it’s up to Godwin to make that happen.
“We have very great talent inside the receiver room,” Godwin said. “We’ll just have to wait and see when the season starts.”