Chris Godwin, Troy Reeder Proudly Represent ‘The Diamond State’
Wide receiver Chris Godwin and linebacker Troy Reeder signed their letters of intent to play for Penn State on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. The duo’s example proved paramount in keeping the Class of 2014 intact following Bill O’Brien’s sudden departure for the NFL’s Houston Texans on New Year’s Eve.
James Franklin and his staff did an excellent job in the rush to assemble that cycle’s 24th-ranked recruiting class, according to 247Sports, flipping eight recruits from their commitment to other schools in just over a month.
But before Franklin could turn his focus to “Dominating the State,“ he needed to reaffirm that an essential twosome from “The First State” would join him in State College. He did just that, as Godwin (Middletown, Del.) and Reeder (Wilmington, Del.) bought in to Franklin’s vision, becoming only the second and third players on the roster from Delaware; graduate senior tight end Kyle Carter (Bear, Del.) being the other. And if early returns on investment are any indication, Franklin will continue prospecting what Thomas Jefferson once called a “jewel among states.“
Ironically, the prodigious pair had a chance to get familiar with each others’ game long before arriving on campus, as Godwin’s Middletown squad went up against Reeder, also a highly-touted lacrosse player, and Salesianum in the regular season finale of their senior campaigns. Godwin finished with an 86-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 48-yard run, but Reeder’s 220 rushing yards and two scores, coupled with a strong defensive outing, was enough to halt the Cavaliers’ 23-game winning streak.
Godwin went on to play in the prestigious Under Armour All-America Game, and was able to make an impact from day one at Penn State, cracking Josh Gattis‘ wide receiver rotation as a true freshman. His seven-catch, 140-yard breakout performance in the Nittany Lions’ 31-30 OT thriller over Boston College in the 2014 New Era Pinstripe Bowl, highlighted by a 72-yard strike from Christian Hackenberg, offered a glimpse of the 6-foot-1, 208-pounder’s sky-high potential.
Given his newfound confidence as a sophomore, Godwin has proven to be Hackenberg’s most consistent deep threat through the air in 2015, recording 27 receptions for 390 yards and a touchdown in spite of rainy conditions that affected three of the first five home games.
Reeder, on the other hand, spent last fall learning the ropes of what it takes to play for “Linebacker U,” under the tutelage of position coach Brent Pry. While many true freshmen (those who are redshirting) spend their first year on campus with the scout team, preparing the first-stringers for the new looks they’ll see from the week’s next opponent, Reeder spent 2014 absorbing Bob Shoop‘s defensive philosophy working with the twos.
The 6-foot-1, 241-pound Reeder clearly made the most of it, as he was ready to step in as the starting Will linebacker when Jason Cabinda was asked to fill Nyeem Wartman-White‘s role in middle. Reeder has exceeded even the loftiest expectations thus far, as the Nittany Lions’ stout defense has hardly skipped a beat despite having to shuffle some key contributors following a handful of injuries.
Through six games, Reeder is tied with sophomore safety Marcus Allen for fourth on the team with 30 total tackles (15 solo), 4.5 of which went for a loss. Reeder definitely fits the eye test, but the crazy thing is, he’s only a redshirt freshman, and there’s no cap on just how good he can be.
With Godwin and Reeder on the rise, Penn State’s fan base will surely continue to spread its roots in the state of Delaware.