When Texas Longhorns wide receiver Marquise Goodwin signed with the 'Horns as part of the 2009 class, he wasn't even listed among the football signees, instead classified merely as a track athlete set to long jump his way to fame on the 40 Acres.
Out of Rowlett, Texas, the three-star prospect by Rivals didn't even crack the top 50 players at his position nationally, falling at 63rd, right around where he ranked in the state of Texas.
Then, all of a sudden, Goodwin showed up on campus and made waves in his first fall camp, serving notice that he was going to count against the football scholarship numbers at Texas sooner than the coaches had envisioned.
Sure enough, he had three catches in his first game in burnt orange and by the time the Red River Rivalry rolled around in October, Goodwin was integrated enough into the offense to score one of the only touchdowns in the 16-13 slugfest.
Now, three and a half years later, Goodwin is set to hear his name called at the NFL Draft, something few would have anticipated when he enrolled at Texas.
It's a term that gets bandied about quite often and while there were some who wanted to claim that Ole Miss somehow didn't count among those schools possessing it, no moment for Goodwin in burnt orange showed off his electrifying ability more than his 69-yard run at Vaught-Hemingway stadium in which he turned the corner on a jet sweep and hit the afterburners on his way to the end zone.
His catch as a freshman against Oklahoma could have taken this spot except for what happened afterwards -- as Goodwin appeared to make a gesture to the Ole Miss crowd, a Marine in the end zone took some significant umbrage to the whole situation, to say the least.
As a gunnery sergeant, it certainly wasn't the first time Stephen Roberts yelled at someone. He seems to have a good handle on the art form.
Any discussion of Goodwin has to start with the 4.27 40 speed that stands as one of the greatest efforts in the recent history of the NFL Combine. Think Chris Johnson is fast? Well, Marquise Goodwin is Chris Johnson fast. And with all those NFL carries on his legs, Johnson would almost assuredly lose a race with Goodwin right now.
At times, he rather appeared to fight himself as a runner. Even so, his testing ability and some flashes on film confirm that he's the fastest player in this draft.
Deep threat ability
A corollary to Goodwin's elite speed is his ability to get open deep -- because of his short-area burst, Goodwin is a significant threat to get behind cornerbacks. In the Alamo Bowl, he scored the winning touchdown on a stop-and-go route and he made several other long catches against Ole Miss in Oxford during his big performance there.
At 5'9, Goodwin wasn't a particularly strong blocker in college and will have trouble holding his own against bigger cornerbacks at the next level, but effort was never the issue with him in that regard. Just check out the video below.
Texas Goodwin Big Block on UCLA Abbott (via TheBrianWalrath)
While the Texas receiver was flagged for that particular hit with the new emphasis on player safety, it does provide some perspective on how willing Goodwin is to mix it up as a blocker.
That toughness also allows him to make catches over the middle.
Special teams ability
Goodwin only had one punt return in his college career, which he took for 22 yards as a freshman, but did show some ability as a kick returner, housing an effort during his freshman season against Texas A&M and averaging over 25 yards in that capacity as a senior.
Given his speed and overall explosiveness, he has the profile of a player who could be even more successful in that area as a pro than he was as an amateur.
In terms of overall development as a wide receiver, Goodwin is significantly behind the curve. He spent his springs and summers while at Texas running track, where his exploits as a long jumper earned him a trip to the 2012 Olympics.
A trip to the World Championships in 2011 cost him the entire fall camp and the plan was for him to redshirt until he got back into the country, called head coach Mack Brown, and said that he wanted to rejoin the team immediately.
As a result, his route-running ability is not as crisp as other players in the draft who have benefit from those extra hundreds of reps they received while Goodwin was pursuing his dreams in track and field.
The Eagles are considered a team interested in Goodwin and have found some success with smaller wide receivers like Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, but there's no question that the Rowlett product is on the small end of the spectrum for his position at 5'9.
At that size, Goodwin could have trouble getting a clean release against stronger defensive backs when they choose to press him -- it was definitely an area in which he struggled in college.
Ability to find the football
On the first stop-and-go that Goodwin executed against Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl, he failed to get his head around to find the football in time to make an adjustment to it, costing the Longhorns a touchdown in a time in the game when one was much needed.
In some other situations, Goodwin seemed surprised to find the football getting in to his body when he came out of breaks.
Teams looking for a polished receiver with proven ability to beat press coverage from the slot will probably overlook Goodwin, who spent more of his time outside. Throw in questions about Goodwin's long-term willingness to commit to football and give up track further compounds the equation.
But if Al Davis were still alive, it's hard to believe that the Raiders could let him slip too far in the draft and Goodwin's performance at the Senior Bowl and 40 time at the Combine attracted the attention of those coaches, scouts, and player personnel folks who become enamored with speed.
And as the old saying goes when draft time comes around, it only takes one team to fall in love with Goodwin for him to come off the board in the first three rounds.
After all, given his lack of experience in football and that world-class speed, there's some upside left for a player who never quite got the repetitions to maximize his talent in Austin.