If you have been following our "breakout players" series over the last couple of weeks, you have probably noticed a theme: heralded recruits primed to take a big step. In Penn State's class of 2014, the Lions brought in more than a few receivers capable of big things. In fact, Nick has speeder DeAndre Thompkins pegged as his breakout star in the 2015 campaign.
Going all the way back to April of 2013, when Chis Godwin gave his verbal commitment to then head coach Bill O'Brien, I have expected big things. Of all the receivers Penn State brought in that year, he struck me as the one with the most complete package. He already had the size (6'2"), the speed, the hands, and the fundamentals.
Save for a select few receivers (i.e. Calvin Johnson), the transition from high school to college is much steeper than many would like to acknowledge. Godwin showed flashes of his talent during the 2014 regular season, hauling in 19 passes for 198 yards, and a touchdown. However, a closer looked showed the inconsistencies expected from a player just a few months removed from high school.
Then the Pinstripe Bowl happened. With four weeks to prep, and time to get back to the basics, Godwin exploded for 7 receptions, 140 yards, and a touchdown in Penn State's overtime win over Boston College. Now, with an entire off season to add size, strength, and refine his route running, Penn State's most talented all around receiver should burst out in a big way in 2015.
It is not just his talent, but who will be around him that has me excited to see what his sophomore season brings. That nearly month long interval between the Michigan State game and the bowl game allowed a beleaguered PSU offense to catch their breath, and for the first time since August, focus on getting better, not just prepping for that week's opponent. We saw an offensive line that took at least a couple of small steps forward, allowing quarterback Christian Hackenberg to show off all those tools that have the NFL drooling.
Sure, there is plenty of talent on the outside for Hack to pick from, but if all goes to play, defending PSU's aerial attack will become more of a "pick your poison" proposition. Chris Godwin has all the talent in the world to take full advantage.