SAN DIEGO -- There was a time, not too long ago, that Marquise Goodwin didn't know where he was going.
A play would be called and the junior would look to his left and look to his right and finally ask “Where am I supposed to line up?”
The wide receiver found himself in all the right spots against Cal. Goodwin, who missed all of spring, all of fall camp and the first couple of weeks of the season, proved to be the most explosive player on the field in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. He caught a 47-yard touchdown pass and cut back an end around for 37 yards to set up another Texas score. And he was a good throw away from breaking a 98-yard touchdown.
In other words, it was a typical game for Goodwin.
“What he did this year was save us,” Texas coach Mack Brown said.
And this was a team that needed a lot of saving. The wide receiving corps was thin, and for a time when Jaxon Shipley went out, didn’t have a reliable option. The quarterbacks were young and jittery, not knowing where to throw, always looking for a security blanket. And the offense was always in search of someone, anyone, to make an explosive play. Goodwin proved to be the man for every job.
Goodwin finished the season third in receptions and fifth in rushing. His two touchdowns are not a huge number but this is an offense that only scored 40.
It was also a considerable amount considering where Goodwin was in the spring and summer. The world-class track athlete had given up football to compete in the long jump. At that time, he was unsure whether or not he would come back. But after missing the world championship long jump finals by 1 centimeter in South Korea, Goodwin started to think about playing football again.
“I thought about how they were getting ready for the season, working hard and pulling together, but it really hit me when I was in the airport on my way back from Seoul,” Goodwin said. “People were texting and Tweeting me with updates from the [Rice] game.”
After a talk with Brown, Goodwin was welcomed back with open arms. Now he is being embraced.
“Marquise is getting so much better every day and we just get him half a year,” Brown said.
What Texas has to learn to do is maximize that time.
“He will be around some, be able to work in the weight room and we want him to win the Olympics. So we're pulling him in a lot of directions,” the Texas coach said. “But he's matured and grown up, and I'm glad he came back this year.”
After watching him against Cal, Brown is undoubtedly not the only one.