The wide receiver’s obvious knack for speed was impossible to ignore as he dashed back and forth, pausing to smile or dance after a particularly good catch. his week, the speedster will embark upon his next move: an NFL career.
While his resume includes both four years as a Texas wide receiver, experience as an Olympic track athlete (he finished 10th in the long jump at the 2012 London Games) and a national championship in the long jump, Goodwin left behind a senior season on the track team in favor of training for the NFL.
Goodwin nabbed the attention of scouts with his 4.27 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in February, in which he nearly broke the record for the fastest time in combine history. His dash was also the fastest ever by a wide receiver.
“Obviously there’s great speed,” head coach Mack Brown said. “He has the ability to score every time he touches [the football]. He’s got really good hands and he can also return kicks.”
But speed alone does not a prominent NFL career make, and Goodwin is quick to point out that his quickness on the field isn’t the only thing he’s got going for him.
“Speed is a big part that allows me to do things like being open and catching the ball and being able to run routes, but I definitely have a lot more to me than just my speed,” he said. “I’m physical, I block and I can catch. I can run routes. I can get open.”
And despite his success on the track, Goodwin was ready to swap long jumps and sprints for more time to focus on football.
“I’ve been doing it a long time, and every opportunity I have I’ll be out watching [track],” he said. “But I’ve had this plan since I got to the University.”
After seeing starts in his first three years as a Longhorn, Goodwin struggled at times during his senior season and only managed to tally 13 carries by the end of the season for three touchdowns. He made the most of his touches, though, as he also caught 26 passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns, averaging a career-best 13.1 yards per catch.
Despite his numbers, Goodwin impressed at the Senior Bowl and turned in a solid performance at Texas’ Pro Day last month, including a 42-inch vertical jump. Analysts at CBSSports.com and NFL Network have pegged Goodwin to go in the third round of the NFL Draft that begins Thursday.
“I came out of the Senior Bowl going, ‘This kid’s a legitimate football player,’” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said of Goodwin. “Potential return skills that runs as fast as anybody in the NFL runs, there’s no way he can get out of the third [round], even though he didn’t have much college production.”
Goodwin said despite his Texas roots, he’s keeping an open mind about where he’s headed.
“I grew up in Dallas, so it’d always be good to play for the home team,” he said. “But I’m looking forward to going anywhere.”
And with this week’s draft rapidly approaching, Goodwin said he’s maintaining a clear head and staying calm.
“Nobody’s really pushing me, and I do really well under pressure, so that’s why I feel like I don’t have any,” he said. “I’m not stressing on what round I go in. The main motivation is to get on a team.”