Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Coach talk: WR Chris Godwin
By Josh Moyer
What kind of player is Penn State getting in Chris Godwin? And what can fans expect?
NittanyNation turned to one of the people who knows most what Godwin is capable of on the field -- Mark DelPercio, his high school coach at Middletown (Del.) High School -- and asked what separates him as a player, how he first noticed Godwin's ability and when he especially showcased his potential.
WR Chris Godwin, Middletown (Del.), 4 stars, No. 35 at position 6-foot-2, 197 pounds
DelPercio, on what separates Godwin from others at his position: "I think the No. 1 thing that comes to mind is his ability to make plays. He's simply a playmaker -- but he does it in all facets of the game. We're talking about someone who is a first-team all-state wide receiver, a first-team all-state linebacker and a first-team all-state return man. I know Delaware is a small state, but to hit the trifecta like that is pretty unprecedented.
"What he's done in the state of Delaware in terms of dominating on the field, well, it hasn't just been one part of his game. We're not talking about a 6-3 guy who's fast and that's it. He's very versatile. ... He runs the ball for us, can see the field well and has such long strides that it's deceptive. It's something to watch. And he also has the ability to break tackles because he's a physical kid. So you put all those things together, and I haven't coached a finer football player in 25 years. There's not been many like him that have come through this state."
When he first knew Godwin would be special: "Really, going into his freshman year, doing 7-on-7s and doing some camps over the summer, I saw him really getting after it. I can take a look at anyone in shorts and a T-shirt and tell that somebody's a good athlete. But we saw his physicality at those camps, and we saw this isn't a kid who shies away from contact. We knew he wasn't going to be some pretty-boy receiver out there. He's going to be in the mix.
"So he started for us as a freshman, and we're a perennial powerhouse so for a freshman to come in like that, it doesn't happen often. And, in our first game of the season, he returned a kick for a touchdown and then had a play at the end of the first half when we were losing by a touchdown. We were at midfield and Darius [Wade] threw a pass to him, he made all the people miss and all of a sudden we're back in it. He was a special kid. I knew right away he was going to be a game-changer. Chris had more than 200 yards receiving in the state title game -- yes, as a freshman."
When Godwin surprised him or really showcased his ability: "Oh, great question. I don't know. The kid's done so much, it's tough to pinpoint. But I can tell you last season he returned a kickoff against Concord High School. He broke about 11 tackles in the process of that kickoff. (Click on the "Concord" Highlights here to watch.) He was kicked to six times last year and returned three touchdowns. That's one that comes off the top of my head because it was amazing to watch.
"He returned a punt for us in the state championship game two years ago that won us the game. And, on the receiving end, the kid just runs so smoothly, it's like, 'Wow.' There's not one catch I can point to because he's had so many of them."