In the early stages of the preseason, a majority of the discussion pertains to the newcomers and how they may play a role while becoming accustomed to different circumstances.
It especially holds true with questions regarding Georgia’s slot receiver position, and many are eager to know – whether it be fans or reporters.
The Bulldogs have moved Mecole Hardman Jr. to offense and signed junior college transfer Ahkil Crumpton in an effort to replace the production of Isaiah McKenzie. Reporters have inquired upon how those two – along with freshmen Mark Webb Jr. and Trey Blount – could potentially fill the void in 2017.
But when head coach Kirby Smart has been asked the question, the first player he mentions is a veteran who was the team’s second-leading receiver a year ago.
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“I’ll start with Terry (Godwin). I think Terry’s done a wonderful job,” Smart said. “He’s put a few pounds on, gotten stronger and looks a little faster to me. Terry is familiar with the offense, and he’s doing a wonderful job out there. I think he’s got exceptional hands and his mind’s in a great spot. I think his attitude’s fantastic, and I love how he’s working right now.”
Godwin tallied 397 receiving yards in 2016, but didn’t record a touchdown within a passing unit that ranked 97th in the nation.
At 5-foot-11, Godwin doesn’t possess outstanding height but has been versatile in his first two seasons in Athens. Currently, he is running with the first-team at slot receiver, but has shown ability to play on the outside as well when Georgia runs a four-wide set.
A second offseason working with offensive coordinator Jim Chaney brings more familiarity and willingness to move around.
“I feel like I’m comfortable with the offense now because I have that year under my belt,” Godwin said. “I know what he expects and I know what he can change the play to. By knowing that playbook inside-and-out, there’s a lot of confidence with our offense.”
Within his own game, Godwin has seen improved physicality and endurance as he enters his junior season. He also carries another duty as an upperclassman.
Georgia welcomed five newcomers to the unit during its 2017 recruiting class. While Godwin has become impressed with how early the young players have grasped the playbook, he has been open to assist and work out any issues.
“Whenever they come to me, I’m here to give them advice,” Godwin said. “I’ll tell them a little bit here-and-there and try to help them out. They aren’t used to lining up out there, and I’ll give them little secrets on how to read the defense and run a certain route.”
Georgia’s wide receiver corps contributed “by committee” a season ago and it may be no different in 2017 as the Bulldogs have five receivers with experience and production at the position.
Godwin said that one could emerge and become the dominant guy if needed. But the success of the receivers is predicated upon the progressions of sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason.
Eason entered the program as a five-star prospect but had to take time to be accustomed to the playbook. Entering his second campaign, Eason said he’s more confident and Godwin concurs.
“Jacob has been able to connect with all receivers,” Godwin said. “It’s not just one receiver he looks for on that field. He spreads it out, and it’s great to see him distribute it to everyone.”
Eason and Godwin have built a good rapport as they enter their second season within the same unit. Their bond has been built in meeting rooms but also during the summer 7-on-7 workouts.
“Terry brightens up the room,” Eason said. “He’s a funny guy. He’s a great athlete too. He has really good hands, and can run a great route. Just like most of our receivers who have their good traits and all have things they can work on too – just like me. Terry, he’s going to have a good year this year. He’s been more of a vocal leader and is pushing guys in the receiver room. We all have our job to do and I think Terry will do his just fine.”