On Friday afternoon, multiple media outlets broke the news on Twitter -- citing sources close to the Texas football program -- that junior wide receiver Marquise Goodwin will redshirt during the 2011 season to focus on track and field and compete in the IAAF World Championship. Presumably Goodwin will also spend the time preparing for a shot at competing in the 2012 Olympics.
The move is not entirely unexpected, as speculation has swirled ever since Goodwin enrolled at Texas that he might miss a football season to prepare for the Olympics and/or compete in the world championships. With his personal best long jump of 27 feet, 4 inches last week, Goodwin qualified for the world track championships in Korea, which would have caused him to miss the opening game of the season against Rice and practice time in the fall as well. In the end, faced with an either/or choice, Goodwin looks like he will choose to compete for his country.
Coming of a disappointing sophomore season that saw him only marginally improve on a promising freshman campaign, the loss of practice time has likely slowed Goodwin's development, as he has not participated in either spring practice since he has been on campus due to track obligations. The poor quarterback play last season no doubt hurt as well, along withoften miscasting him as an outside receiver, where his lack of size made it difficult for him to make plays against taller cornerbacks who could use the sideline to their advantage.
For the Longhorns, the expected ascension of sophomore MIke Davis to the role of playmaking receiver and positive reports surrounding highly-polished incoming freshman Jaxon Shipley will help minimize the negative impact caused by the prospective loss of Goodwin for the 2011 season. Additionally, Goodwin's absence will open up more opportunities for another small receiver with big-play potential -- junior DeSean Hales, who has struggled to break into the rotation during his first three years on campus.
In other words, there are plenty of options for Texas at the receiver position to replace Goodwin and the success of the passing game will likely hinge more on quarterback play than on the performances of specific receivers.
In the end, though, this story is about a young man who has a chance to compete for his country at the highest level and it's safe to say that the burnt orange faithful should and will support him in those endeavors. Best of luck, Marquise.