A world class long-jumper, Goodwin won the 2011 U.S. Outdoor Track and Field title in the event Saturday, earning him a spot on Team USA at the World Championships in Daegu, Korea starting in August. At the same time, the decision will allow Goodwin to focus on qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
There isn't any doubt that Goodwin has football potential. Before the start of last season, Texas coach Mack Brown said that he thought Goodwin had the ability to catch 100 passes in a season. He didn't approach those numbers a year ago, catching 31 passes for 324 yards and a touchdown, and he's struggled to provide the big-play threat that his speed would indicate. For his career, he's averaging just 9.9 yards per catch, catching 61 passes for 603 yards and two scores. He's also returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
And now, the question comes in whether he'll ever be able to make the kind of impact that Brown has envisioned. Redshirting the 2011 season just means that the Longhorns will give more snaps to players like Mike Davis, Darius White, Desean Hales and freshman Jaxon Shipley, who has already earned rave reviews through his play in 7-on-7s. Davis and White will both be juniors when Goodwin is, while Shipley is younger. Young players like John Harris and Chris Jones will also have chances to lap Goodwin before he returns in 2012.
On one hand, it's nice that the Longhorns have that kind of depth at receiver. In the short term, the Longhorns will have the talent and bodies to absorb the loss of Goodwin. In the long term, it will be difficult for Goodwin to resume his spot as a regular starter, especially with Texas continuing to add talented players like Cayleb Jones and Thomas Johnson.
Still, it's hard to say that Goodwin is making the wrong decision. While he certainly has the talent to play receiver in the NFL, he has the ability to prove himself as one of the top long-jumpers in the world. And you can't fault him for that.