Goodwin decides to redshirt for 2011 football season

Christian Corona

Texas football doesn’t take a back seat to many things, but Olympic aspirations are one of them for Marquise Goodwin.

Goodwin, a junior wide receiver and school record-setting long jumper, will redshirt this upcoming football season to focus on training for the 2011 World Championships in South Korea, as well as for qualifying for the 2012 Olympics in London.

With a 27’4” jump, Goodwin captured the 2011 U.S.A. Outdoor Track & Field national title and qualified for the 2011 IAAF World Championships. That competition is set to be held from Aug. 27 to Sept. 4, meaning Goodwin was already likely to miss the Longhorns’ season opener Sept. 3 against Rice. Now he’ll miss the entire season.

“We are so proud of Marquise,” said football head coach Mack Brown. “What an unbelievable accomplishment to be the U.S. long jump champion and earn a spot in the World Championships, especially at such a young age. Obviously, he has established himself as one of the premiere long jumpers not only in America, but the world. With the World Championships coming up and the Olympics next August, his focus needs to be on track and field.”

Brown’s receiving corps will now have one less legitimate offensive threat. Over the past two seasons, Goodwin has caught 61 passes for 604 yards — including a 14-yard touchdown to beat Oklahoma 16-13 in 2009. He was Texas’ fifth-leading pass-catcher in 2010. Of the four players ahead of Goodwin, only Malcolm Williams (24 catches, 334 yards) and Mike Davis (47 catches, 478 yards) return.

Williams, the lone senior receiver, leads a group of young but promising wideouts, only four of whom have recorded a reception for Texas (Williams, Davis, junior DeSean Hales with 11, and sophomore Darius White with 1). It’s a group that will include four freshmen — two who redshirted in 2010 (John Harris and Chris Jones) and two true freshmen (Jaxon Shipley, Jordan Shipley’s younger brother and Miles Onyegbule). It’s also a group that did not include a receiver with more than two touchdown catches and one that must put up bigger numbers for Texas to improve upon their 5-7 showing last season. Goodwin will rejoin the team next fall.

“I can’t say thanks enough for the incredible support from Coach Brown, the whole staff and my teammates in this decision,” said Goodwin. “I’m still going to be around football as much as possible supporting them every step of the way next season and will be ready to go with two years left when I fully return. Until then, I’m looking forward to having a great year with [track and field head] Coach [Bubba] Thornton and my track and field teammates as I try to fulfill my dreams of bringing home gold to the United States and everyone at Texas.”

The World Junior Champion in both the long jump and 4x100m, Goodwin broke former Texas running back Eric Metcalf’s long jump record of 26’0” set in 1986 with a 26’8.5” leap at the Razorback Invitational Jan. 28. That 26’8.5” mark would have been good enough to crack the top eight at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A jump around 26’11” would have been good enough to medal in 2008. Goodwin is now set to prepare to take his chances in the long jump in 2012. Coach Thornton will help him along the way.

“We are so proud of everything Marquise is accomplishing and look forward to getting him ready for the World Championships,” Thornton said. “The fact that Mack [Brown] and the football program care so much about him and his future, to let him focus on track and field, is a tribute to their unselfishness and love for Marquise and this university.”