April 6, 2010
By Taylor Soper
It was pretty much a one-man receiving show during the 2008 Washington football season, and D'Andre Goodwin was the star of it.
He had 40 -- yes, 40 -- more catches than the second-leading receiver, Jermaine Kearse. He averaged 57.7 yards per game, almost more than the next three leading receivers combined. And this was all during his sophomore year, as Husky fans were anticipating Goodwin - now a senior - to become an integral part of the offense for the following two seasons.
But an injury during spring football in 2009 kept Goodwin out, just as head coach Steve Sarkisian and his new coaching staff stepped in. That, and the emergence of players like Kearse, Devin Aguilar and James Johnson this past season sent Goodwin deep down the depth chart.
He caught just 14 balls during the 2009 season -- 75 percent fewer than he had in the previous year -- and didn't have a single touchdown catch. Once a go-to receiver for quarterback Jake Locker, Goodwin was pretty much a side note during the entire season.
"But one thing about (Goodwin) is he battled the whole time. He never got a bad attitude. He's definitely been through the ups and downs in a short amount of time, and I've been really proud of him."
Receivers Coach Jimmie Dougherty
"I don't take last year as a down year," Goodwin said. "It was a year of learning and experiencing my downside of things. I just get what I can get out of it and build myself to become a better player."
Second-year wide-receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty says the fact that Goodwin was injured this past spring just as the new coaching staff came in hurt his chances to make a good impression.
"Injuries didn't help, and other guys just played well, and it's always about competition, so it was hard [for Goodwin]," Dougherty said. "But one thing about him is he battled the whole time. He never got a bad attitude. He's definitely been through the ups and downs in a short amount of time, and I've been really proud of him."
So far this spring, Goodwin, who sat out Saturday's practice to rest his hamstring, hasn't had a lot of chances to impress in terms of catching, but his veteran talent was on full display during the first week of practice. He was active on hustle plays, blocked well on run plays, recovered a fumble and even saved an interception from happening.
"He was doing a lot of the little things right that might not necessarily show up in catching form," Dougherty said. "And he's doing everything right, which goes a long way. We look at everything; it's more than just catching the ball."
Goodwin, who is the strongest member on the receiving corps in terms of weightlifting, impressed coaches this offseason with his work ethic. But the humble senior says it wasn't just him putting in the time.
"Not just me, but the team, I felt, worked very hard to put ourselves in better shape than we would have last year," he said. "The outcome should be a better season. I felt like all of us just picked up our level of work ethic, and we're a better team now."
Dougherty sees Goodwin as one of the veteran leaders of the receiving corps. He's seen Goodwin's strong work ethic over the past two years and says the only thing left for Goodwin to prove is his ability to perform on game day.
Kearse, Aguilar and Johnson have all proven that they can make plays in front of 72,000 fans under Sarkisian's offensive system. While Goodwin hasn't quite done that, he has too much talent and skill to ignore.
"Nothing is ever set in stone," Dougherty said. "It's going to come down to playing and doing it on a daily basis. Everybody's got a chance, and everybody is being evaluated top to bottom. D'Andre has a lot of talent and we need him to be a guy for us. He's got a big role on this team."
And it's up to Goodwin to decide whether this story will be the first of many to come.
"It's a great story that's waiting to get written for him," Dougherty said. "I told him that before spring started, that story is waiting to get written, and he just has to go do it."