Multi-Tool Goodwin Focused on RB

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Justin Goodwin went from starter to a minimized role this season following the injury at running back to Paul James. The sophomore’s on-field role is smaller, however his impact in meetings is key heading into bowl season.

Justin Goodwin is a team-first guy, and sometimes that means the backseat. As true freshmen Josh Hicks and Robert Martin emerged late in the 2014 season, Goodwin’s role decreased on the field.

A starter following the injury to Paul James, Goodwin spent the final quarter of the season as primarily a pass protector.

“I guess it’s a little different, but I’m here to help,” Goodwin said. “Whether it’s pass protection or just staying focused, I’m helping out.”

Goodwin has no complaints about a smaller on-field role, however. He is a team-first guy, and says so often.

“I’m happy,” Goodwin said. “I can only do what the coaches ask me to do, and I like that my role is a way to help the team. I’m going to keep doing it to the best of my ability.”

Goodwin started three games, and finished fourth on the roster in rushing with 322 yards and a touchdown.

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood started five different running backs in 2014.

“As a group, it starts with pass protection,” Goodwin said on the Rutgers stable of backs. “We need to get first downs and move the ball and follow our blockers – just keep executing better.

“At the end of the day, it’s football. We know what to do. We’ve been doing it for a long time. Just go out and do it.”

Goodwin started the season-opener at cornerback against Washington State. He picked off a pass in his cornerback debut, but missed the next two games with an injury.

Goodwin bounced between cornerback and running back, and could play either if needed moving forward.

“It was an adjustment going to corner, but coming back [to running back] is no problem,” Goodwin said. “I played a whole year at running back in this system. It wasn’t that much of a challenge.”

When bowl practice begins next week, Goodwin is 100 percent focused on his roles at running back and on special teams.

“It was fun trying to make plays on the ball at corner,” Goodwin said. “ … I want to be able to help wherever I can. I’m at running back now, so that’s my focus all the way. I like doing anything I can – whether it’s running, catching the ball, pass blocking.”

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