Terry Godwin can’t escape the catch.
Godwin walked into his legal studies class Monday morning and received yet another reference about the one-handed grab he snagged against Notre Dame two weeks ago. This time, it was his professor keeping Godwin on his toes about it.
“I walked into class and my teacher actually tossed me a pencil,” Godwin said. “She was like, ‘I hope you can catch that one-handed better than the ball.’ It’s things like that I keep hearing around campus.”
While Georgia played and easily defeated Samford last Saturday, campus is still abuzz about Godwin’s one-handed touchdown grab that went viral through college football circles. It will likely go down as one of the best catches of the 2017 season across the country. On the play, Godwin contorted his body backward, got his fingertips on the ball, brought it into his body and somehow managed to get a foot inbounds along the sideline of the Notre Dame end zone.
But that one play isn’t the only spectacular moment Godwin has had this season. Godwin has done plenty more to become Georgia’s top option thus far at receiver – a position head coach Kirby Smart said didn’t have a go-to target during the preseason.
To follow his performance against Notre Dame, Godwin came back with four catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns against Samford. Godwin’s first touchdown came on a curl route in the seam. After catching the ball, Godwin turned to his right, weaved his way through traffic and dove into the end zone to avoid a final tackler for 51 yards.
Godwin later caught a third-down pass in the third quarter and ran past a slew of Samford defenders for a 31-yard gain. On the next play, Godwin caught a quick flare pass and ran it into the end zone for a touchdown.
A year after being held out of the end zone, Godwin now has posted three receiving touchdowns – more than he has ever had in a single year since the former five-star prospect arrived to Georgia. As a freshman in 2015, Godwin posted three total touchdowns – two receiving and one passing.
Smart attributed Godwin’s start to the 2017 season to a new approach he has brought to practice.
“As frustrated as I was (last season) with his physicality and lack of practice effort, he has practiced so hard and blocked so well,” Smart said. “He blocks bigger than he is. He’s not afraid to stick his face in there. He’s always been that way. I remember watching him as an eighth grader, ninth grader at Callaway High School and he was hitting people. I didn’t see enough of that last year. Now, you see it and he’s getting rewarded by catching the ball and making plays.”
Godwin said a lot of the success he has seen early on this season has to do with learning what was expected from Smart and his coaching staff after they arrived during the 2016 offseason.
Smart may not have been pleased with what he saw from Godwin at times a year ago. That has since changed, with Godwin going all-in on what his coaches expect at practice.
“It was setting a new culture, knowing you’re going out to practice each day, and it’s going to get harder and harder,” Godwin said. “The weeks are going to be longer. You have to go out and practice hard and that’s what’s making it.”