Top UGA football signee to work out for the Atlanta Braves

UGA 5-star commit Terry Godwin, an AJC Super 11 selection (AJC/Curtis Compton)

UGA 5-star signee Terry Godwin, an AJC Super 11 selection (AJC/Curtis Compton)

One of UGA’s top football signees will be working out for the Atlanta Braves before next month’s baseball draft.

Terry Godwin is a 5-star receiver from Callaway High School, and he signed a football scholarship with UGA last February.

Godwin is also a standout at third base for Callaway’s baseball team. He impressed a few scouts enough to earn an invitation to a pre-draft camp with other prospects with the Braves at Turner Field on May 28.

Here are five things to know about Terry Godwin’s baseball career:

1. Could he be another George Lombard? UGA fans were heartbroken over Lombard, the star running back from Lovett who bypassed his football career with the Bulldogs after being drafted in the second round by the Atlanta Braves in 1994. Lombard made it to the big leagues with the Braves, playing for four teams in a six-year career. Could Terry follow in the same path? It doesn’t seem like it, at least at this point. Lombard was scouted by every team in baseball, while Godwin has attracted attention from six or seven organizations this spring, with three approaching his coach for more information – the Braves, Miami Marlins and Texas Rangers. “I think all of (the baseball people) are trying to feel him out a little bit,” Callaway baseball coach Dusty Hubbard told the AJC on Monday. “With Terry playing football, it goes both ways. It’s a leverage point for him (to get a better deal if he did get drafted), but for (the baseball teams), it can be a little bit of a deterrent – taking a guy late and then knowing he may not be interested in playing baseball. I think he has got a shot at being drafted in June. And then he will have some decisions to make.” Back to football: Godwin could be UGA’s most important offensive recruit in this year’s signing class because the receivers from the past three classes have made very little or no impact. Godwin, with his explosiveness in the open field, could contribute immediately.

2. How good is Godwin in baseball? It wouldn’t be fair to say that Godwin is baseball’s equivalent of a 5-star, but he has definitely turned some heads. This season, Godwin has compiled a .305 batting average with two homers and 18 RBIs. He also has 15 stolen bases in 16 attempts. He is being evaluated mainly as a third baseman, and he also impressed scouts with his limited pitching appearances. Godwin’s fastball was clocked at 90 mph by the Braves this spring. “He’s extremely athletic, as far as baseball goes,” Hubbard said. “He is a plus-defender. He’s such an instinctual infielder and has a great arm. He’s raw with his hitting. And that’s more because of the timing of it. He has always been a three-sport guy. To be a really good hitter in baseball, it just takes so much time. But that one thing he does have is a lot of pop in his bat. He’s got the ability to hit for power. He’s a plus-runner, and very instinctual runner as well. So he has got a lot of the capabilities of what you would call a five-tool kid.”

UGA 5-star signee Terry Godwin (247sports)

UGA 5-star signee Terry Godwin (247sports)

3. Could Godwin do both like Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders? Godwin told the AJC last month that he is leaning toward accepting an invitation to join UGA’s baseball team as a walk-on, providing he can handle the workload of school and football as a freshman. But what if he gets drafted? Could he play football for UGA during the fall and then cash some paychecks for playing pro baseball in the summers? It’s legal, under NCAA rules (to be amateur in one sport and professional in another) – if Godwin is interested. “I think right now his mindset is helping us in the state playoffs, and doing what it takes for us to move forward,” Hubbard said. “I think his mindset is also that he will be at Georgia on June 1 (with the other football signees). But I do think he could play both sports. Which way does he go? Does he go to Georgia and try to play minor-league baseball when he is finished with football? Does he go to Georgia and try to play baseball in the summers like Russell Wilson? Or does he play pro baseball and then go back to football? All those things are questions, and that’s for Terry and his family to decide.” Callaway hosts Decatur in the second round of the Class AAA playoffs at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

4. Should UGA football fans be worried about this baseball thing with Godwin? Let’s skip to the bottom line: “I don’t think so,” Hubbard said. “I think, no matter what, he is going to be at Georgia this fall. Let’s say he was to get drafted – and I don’t want to think for him, and I don’t want to speak for him … but I don’t know what kind of money we’re talking about. I have been given no indication by scouts about that with Terry. In the past, they’ll tell me with a player that ‘We’re looking at rounds 10 to 15 and ‘X’ amount of money.’ The scouts haven’t given me any indication on that, or if for sure that they’re going to draft him. We’ll have to see how everything unfolds. But Terry is preparing for it. There is no doubt about that. He has talked to his parents. His parents are preparing for it as well. If it comes to fruition, they will have a plan for it. I think, right now, that there’s a very, very good possibility that he’ll be at Georgia on June 1 and he’ll be there all summer long for this summer, no matter what. He’ll be there for his first football season.”

5. What’s most likely to happen with Godwin and the baseball draft? The baseball draft is a lot different than football. There are 40 rounds, giving each team plenty of opportunities to take some risks. Even Godwin’s coach, at this point, isn’t sure if he’ll be drafted. I could see the Braves or Marlins taking a flier on Godwin in the later rounds where there is little to lose. What happens after that, who knows? It depends on the signing bonus, you would think. In my AJC crystal ball, I see mostly football in Terry Godwin’s future. But … all bets are off if he obliterates the workout with the Braves later this month.

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