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August 25, 2008Remember that familiar cartoon, Where's Waldo? Georgia fans have been saying the same thing about wide receiver Demiko Goodman.
Arguably the fastest player on the team despite a severe knee injury two years ago, fans often find themselves wondering about Goodman, a player with take-it-to-the-house speed, but one who for whatever reason has yet to truly live up to his potential. "There have definitely been some ups and downs. Sometimes it seems there have been more downs than ups, but it builds your character, it makes you want it harder," Goodman said in an exclusive interview with UGASports. "I can't look back the past."
At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Goodman was one of the state's two highest decorated wideouts when he signed with Georgia in February of 2004, the other being former Georgia Tech standout Calvin Johnson, now with the Detroit Lions. But while Johnson flourished, Goodman struggled to find his groove before a torn ACL against Ole Miss sidelined him for the remainder of the 2006 campaign. Ironically, Goodman was on his way to having the finest day of his career against the Rebels as he caught four balls for 71 yards before going down with the injury.
"Being injured was definitely a set-back, but I think everything in life happens for a reason," Goodman said. "Hopefully, it's going to build up into me being able to have the best year of my life my senior season.
Where Goodman falls in the pecking order for 2008 remains somewhat of a mystery: With Mohamed Massaquoi and Kenneth Harris slated to start, depth at the wide receiver position appears to be a Bulldog strength, especially with the emergence of freshmen Tavarres King and A.J. Green. Although he played in 12 of Georgia's 13 games in 2007, Goodman only caught seven passes for 124 yards, though two of those catches went for touchdowns, including a 26-yarder against Tennessee. "Every time I get a chance I need to show what I can do," Goodman said. "Whenever I get my opportunities I need to take it to the house."
King considers Goodman a role model as well as a good friend. "Demiko is amazing, on and off the field. He teaches you so much, just a great guy," King said. "On the field he keeps you calm and keeps you level-headed and off the field he does the same thing."
King said that Goodman is an inspiration in other ways as well. Because his career has run the gamut of highs and lows that it has, King said youngsters like him are able to see what it takes to overcome different adversities. "Everybody has their own little thing that they've been through, look at Sean Bailey, look at (Massaquoi) his freshman and sophomore year," King said. "Demiko his injuries, everybody's had something that they've had to overcome. He talks about it and keeps me and A.J. encouraged and tells us to keep our confidence up no matter what."
A former track star that once finished third in the SEC Indoors in the 400 meter run (46.39), Goodman said he welcomes the competition teammates like King and Green provide.
"Every one of us has the ability to step up, go out and make plays," Goodman said. "It's all about competition. We got out there and work hard, but we also have fun and pull for each other because we all want to see the other guy produce."