University of Texas senior Marquise Goodwin, the USA's top qualifier in the long jump for the London Olympics, has forged a bond with a "Texas-Ex" that extends well beyond good wishes on Twitter or flashing the school's "Hook 'em Horns" hand signal.
This is based on dreams shared and opportunity lost.
Goodwin, 5-10, 170 pounds and a wide receiver and kick returner on the Longhorns football team, communicates almost daily with Eric Metcalf, who faced similar challenges juggling football with track for the burnt orange in the late 1980s.
Metcalf's chance to compete in the Olympics ended when he failed to qualify for the long jump in the 1988 trials before Seoul. Goodwin qualified last month by jumping a career-best 27 feet, 4 inches.
"I guess you could say he's doing it vicariously through me," Goodwin said. "We're really close. He's instrumental in my life, especially at this moment."
Metcalf, who lives in Seattle, said by phone that he tried to give Goodwin advice regarding track and football that he couldn't get from most people.
"He's a talented kid," said Metcalf, 44, who plans to attend the London Games. "I can't wait to see him jump."
The long jump is Aug. 3-4. Longhorns football players are scheduled to report Aug. 2.
Metcalf arrived at Texas known mostly for being the son of three-time Pro Bowl running back Terry Metcalf. The son was a versatile tailback at 5-10, 195 pounds, ranking third in the nation in all-purpose yardage as a junior. He finished second in the Southwest Conference in rushing and sixth in receiving and was selected the league's offensive player of the year.
Texas promoted his Heisman Trophy candidacy as a senior in 1988 with a four-minute video accompanied by country group Alabama's You've Got the Touch.
Metcalf, like Goodwin, won two NCAA outdoor titles in the long jump through his junior year. Then, in the USA/Mobil Championships in June 1988, he scored a stunning victory with a career-best 27 feet, 8 inches. The Seoul Games in September suddenly became a possibility, though football was his favorite sport by far.
In the Olympic trials in mid-July, that became a moot issue. Metcalf felt a slight twinge in his left calf on his first attempt and eventually finished eighth.
"I wanted to win a Heisman Trophy and an Olympic gold medal. Didn't get either," Metcalf said with a laugh. "If I'd put my all into the long jump ."
His Heisman hopes then were severely damaged before Metcalf got into a game his senior season. Days before the Longhorns opened with a nationally televised game at Brigham Young, the NCAA declared Metcalf ineligible for accepting money to pay for summer school that he didn't attend. He didn't pay it back until the NCAA began investigating.
Metcalf averaged 157.4 all-purpose yards a game, but Texas finished 4-7 and he was out of the Heisman race.
He was drafted 13th overall by the Cleveland Browns and played 13 years in the NFL, earning all-pro recognition twice. Metcalf settled in Seattle, where he was born, before retiring from pro ball in 2002. He has been involved with the Seatown Express Track Club since 1999.
Metcalf met Goodwin when the latter was a student at Rowlett High School near Dallas and participated in the junior championships in Eugene, Ore. Goodwin set the national high school long jump record of 26 feet, 10 inches and led Rowlett to two state track championships. He also won the long jump and was part of the winning 4x100 relay team in the IAAF World Junior Championships in Poland.
Goodwin also was a star receiver for the Rowlett Eagles and was pleased that Texas, his school of choice, allowed him to pursue both sports.
Goodwin initially received a track scholarship but was soon shifted to football's financial ledger. His first score was a 14-yard reception that represented Texas' only touchdown in a 16-13 victory against Oklahoma in 2009, his freshman season. Six weeks later he thwarted a Texas A&M rally with a 95-yard kickoff return in Texas' 49-39 victory.
This season he should be one of the starting wide receivers alongside junior Mike Davis and sophomore Jaxon Shipley.
Meeting the news media last week at Texas, Goodwin said he purposely wore a shirt celebrating the 1968 U.S. Olympic team. On that team: Bob Beamon, who had a then-record long jump of 29 feet, 2 inches, and sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith, who made a Black Power salute on the medals stand.
"They really changed a lot in our sport, in our culture, really all of track and field," Goodwin said.
Asked if he had a Beamon jump in him, he said, "I definitely think I've got it in me. I've got to find a way to get it out.
"Once I do, maybe they'll be saying to the next guy, 'Do you have a Marquise Goodwin jump in you?'"
Most Popular Stories
- Gas Prices Expected to Stay High
- Consumer Spending Will Offset Sequester: Economists
- AT&T Seeks to Fill 120 Jobs in South Carolina
- California Considers Oil Tax to Fund Schools
- Yahoo to Pay $1.1 Billion for Tumblr
- Hispanic Grads Pass Their Peers in College Enrollment
- Dude! California Beach Parking Plan Making Waves
- Yahoo Indeed Buying Tumblr
- Record Yearly Profit for Ryanair
- Google Fiber Making an Impact