Have you ever seen a wide receiver who was 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds, catches the ball like he has glue on his hands, and runs the 40-yard dash in less than 4.6 seconds?
No, we haven’t either. Ever.
We present William “Shaq” Goodwin, the towering wide receiver at Southwest DeKalb High School, which will play Tucker at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on WSB-TV’s digital channel 2.2 and on www.wsbtv.com
Buck Godfrey, the legendary coach who has sent a pipeline of players to the college and NFL ranks over the last 29 years at Southwest DeKalb, hasn’t seen anything like it either.
The old ball coach thinks Goodwin “could revolutionize the wide receiver position” as we know it.
“In football, he could be legendary at wide receiver,” Godfrey told the AJC. “They may try to put him at tight end in college but he has got the speed and finesse to add another dimension to the wide receiver position as we know it. That would be something real serious. Now everybody is talking about big cornerbacks. William could revolutionize the wide receiver position.”
You’ve probably heard Shaq Goodwin’s name before, but not for football. He’s one of the top 10 college basketball prospects in the nation and — in my opinion — a candidate to be Georgia’s first “one-and-done” NBA prospect since Derrick Favors.
Shaq’s top five schools are UGA. UCLA, Florida, Alabama and Memphis. He claims he wants to play football in college, too, and said all five finalists are fine with him doing both sports. (We’ll believe it when we see it. Not because we believe Shaq can’t do it but simply because he’s that talented in basketball. He has enormous agility and athleticism for his size. Still very raw but all the tools are there)
“I wish he could run the ball because I’d love to put a 6-8, 240-pound tailback back there running downhill,” Godfrey said. He was serious. “He can easily run a 4.6 or faster. He has got good control of his muscles. He’s just an athlete.”
Tucker coach Franklin Stephens isn’t so sure about Goodwin’s 4.6. “He looks like he runs faster than that.”
How do you defend a 6-8 wide receiver? Imagine trying to cover the Statue of Liberty. “I was telling my guys that he’s a foot or taller than you,” Stephens said. “He’s an unbelievable athlete and kid. Right now on paper, we don’t have an answer for him. We’re hoping to put pressure on their QB, in some form or fashion. I don’t know if you can stop [Goodwin], you just hope to control him. If they start throwing lob passes to him, you just don’t have anybody that’s going to out-jump him for the football.”
“That’s another thing. I’ve watched a ton of film on Goodwin. The one thing I’ve noticed is that the kid does not drop the football. If it’s a good ball in his direction, he’s going to catch it.”
There was speculation all summer that Goodwin would not play football as a senior year.
There were good reasons for speculation, as Shaq spent his summer criss-crossing the globe playing AAU basketball. He was in Los Angeles for the Adidas tournament about a week ago. Goodwin has only been participating full-time in football for only a few days.
The old ball coach convinced Shaq of the benefits of football.
“I have a pretty good relationship with Shaq and his mother, and the lessons you learn in football, I don’t think you can learn in basketball with the way it’s played now,” Godfrey said.
“No. 1, football is a team effort. It takes 11 guys to get the ball down the field. I don’t think you have that in basketball, unless it’s the old-time teams with Bob Cousy and those kinds of guys. Right now, basketball is an individual thing, especially with AAU basketball — I don’t think they play defense at all. No. 2, it’s going to help him with his strength and build stronger character. You will be challenged on the football field like you never will on the basketball court. You’ve got to fight your way through it. No. 3, it’s going to make him a better student because we have study hall that is required and certain grades you’ve got to make to play. No. 4, it’s going to make him an all-around type of player. If you focus only on one sport, you may not open up other areas of life you may need to experience.”
All we can say after that is one thing: Who is Bob Cousy?
Please consider joining us at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to watch Shaq live in action. Tucker is led by defensive end Josh Dawson, who is committed to Vanderbilt but will visit UGA, and linebacker Jacob Sealand, who has also pledged to Vanderbilt.
Note: How good is Shaq? You can watch him yourself on WSB-TV “Thursday Night Football” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. It’s Tucker vs. SW DeKalb on Channel 2.2, WSB-TV ’s second digital channel. You can also watch games live on wsbtv.com and watch the rebroadcast Friday nights at 1:06 a.m. on Channel 2. It can also be found on the follow cable channels:
TOP 10 FOOTBALL RECRUITING STORIES
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
Note: Inappropriate BLOG comments and personal attacks will NOT be tolerated. We love the lively discussions but hate-filled, harassing and irresponsible comments are unacceptable.