October 22, 2009

Marquise Goodwin a success on and off the field

After beating Oklahoma for the fourth time in the last five years, Mack Brown said breakout freshman receiver Marquise Goodwin, who scored UT's only touchdown in the game, was "mature beyond his years."

Goodwin's old soul view of life has nothing to do with winning the long jump at the world junior championships in Poland last year or replacing John Chiles in the starting lineup Saturday night at Missouri.


It has everything to do with his 18-year-old sister, Deja, who has cerebral palsy, and his mom, Tamina, who is raising four children alone in Garland, right outside of Dallas.

"Growing up, I had to do it pretty quick because I just had to help my mom out with her, and that's what helped me grow up a lot," Goodwin said.

As the oldest child in the household, Goodwin helped his sister with everything that she couldn't do herself, including feeding and getting dressed. Patience was of the essence. In many ways, Marquise was a father figure in his household. With all of his responsibility, Goodwin still found time for his own dreams.


Like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders played pro baseball and pro football at the highest levels, Goodwin hopes to one day win Olympic gold in the long jump and play in the NFL.

"It's a goal of mine," Goodwin said. "I won't just put it out there like, 'Oh, yeah, I'm the best.' I'm working to be the best. Hopefully, I'll get there.

"I love both of them (football and track). That's why I play both. You can't play football or run track without the passion and the want to. That passion makes you want to come out there every day."


Goodwin broke out in Texas' 16-13 victory over Oklahoma on Saturday, just down the road from his native Rowlett High School. Goodwin caught four passes for 36 yards, including an 11-yard reception on third-and-8 in the third quarter.

He had UT's only touchdown on a 14-yard touchdown pass on a slant with 7:08 left in the third quarter, during which Goodwin shook off a tackler by cutting back outside.

He also drew oohs and aahs for an 11-yard reception on the Texas boundary in which Goodwin completely laid out, caught the ball with his hands - confirmed by review. That play helped set up a 32-yard field goal by Hunter Lawrence for UT's final margin - 16-13 - with 12:08.

"He's real mature for his age," Colt McCoy said. "A lot of times you get freshmen who are nervous and bright-eyed. He's calm, collected and when his number is called, he's going to be ready. I did not think he'd have the impact he had on this game.

"It goes back to just taking what they give you. A lot of times when they were blitzing me, I had Marquise matched up on their rookie guy, a safety. And that's where I should have gone with the ball, and we made it work."

Goodwin took the blame for an interception McCoy threw near the OU goal line late in the fourth quarter. McCoy made a game-saving tackle to mitigate the damage.

"I was supposed to cross face on the slant and cross the face of the corner, but I pushed it up too far and crossed behind him," Goodwin said. "I take all the blame for that one."


No one, not Colt McCoy, Greg Davis or Mack Brown figured Goodwin would have this much impact on the offense this season going into fall camp.

But Brown said Wednesday, he and Davis had seen enough of Goodwin by the start of the season to know he would count as a football scholarship. (Goodwin was on a track scholarship until he played a single down of football. Then, he counted as a football scholarship.)

"Marquise is a young guy who is going to be a very dynamic player," McCoy said. "I think Garrett (Gilbert), over the next couple years, is going to be lucky to have him. He's going to be really good. Obviously, he's young, but to step into the OU game and play like he did.

"I didn't even think the touchdown was the biggest play that he made. The biggest play that he made was the third-down conversion he made (in the third quarter) when we hadn't hardly converted at all. That was his first play.

"So obviously I have a little confidence in him to go there on third down in the middle of the game. So I think he has the ability to make big plays."


Davis said he had not had much success with "track athletes."

"Some of them can't come out of cuts," Davis said. "Some are not natural ball catchers. He is. He can come out of cuts. The catch he made on the sideline was a heck of a catch, and he's just a great kid."

Goodwin said he plans to run the 100 meters, the 4x100-meter relay and compete in the long jump for Texas track coach Bubba Thornton as soon as football season is over. Goodwin will then use the spring and summer to compete in track before returning to football next August.

"I'm a football player," said Goodwin, when asked if he was more track athlete or football player. "Of course, everyone wants to prove themselves as a football player and prove they can be one of the best. I'm no different."


Goodwin said track actually helps his football.

"In track, it's all about mechanics and the little things," Goodwin said. "I just apply that to football, just worry about the little things. Anyone can pick up the big things the coaches are talking about, but it's the little things they can't."

Goodwin, who ran a 4.28 in the 40 last year in high school, said he would love to break the world record in the long jump (he finished fifth at the U.S. Nationals this summer). And he'd love to be an NFL player one day.


"I'm pretty confident in myself," said Goodwin, who stands just 5-9 and 170 pounds. "I don't let anyone talk me down or put me down. I just have a lot of belief in myself and my abilities. If I believe I can do something, then I can do it."

Asked where he picked up that belief and, of course, you learn it came from a home in which everyone pulled together to pick each other up.

"Growing up, my mom always taught me to believe I can do things," Goodwin said. "That's what I live by."

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