Colby Goodwyn's dream is the same as elite level NFL prospects. His path is longer, more varied and less glamorous.
The former Old Dominion and Phoebus High standout works out daily. He has participated in mini-combines and played in an under-the-radar all-star game, all while taking a full academic courseload this semester toward graduation in May.
"It's not easy doing both at the same time," Goodwyn said recently during a break in his schedule. "But I feel like it's going to make me a stronger person, no matter how it turns out."
Many pro prospects depart school at the end of their seasons and concentrate on workouts and draft preparation.
Goodwyn was within sight of completing requirements toward a bachelor's degree in parks, recreation and tourism, with an emphasis on therapeutic recreation. He decided to remain in school and tailor workouts and preparation around his academic work.
"I felt like I wanted to get it done," he said. "I was worried that if I didn't finish, I wouldn't keep at it. Plus, I'm getting a free education right now, so I thought I'd just go ahead and keep working toward it."
Goodwyn finished his ODU career as the school's leader in rushing and all-purpose yardage, though his carries and playing time fluctuated in the final two years as he split time with other backs and kick returners.
Shortly after ODU's 2013 season concluded, he began working out five mornings a week with Luke Bohac, who runs Exercise Faith Xtreme Training in Yorktown. They worked together for three months, from December through the end of February.
"Colby's relentless," Bohac said. "He's by far the most disciplined athlete I've worked with. He was already at a great level, but he needed to get a step higher."
Goodwyn gained 13 pounds since the end of the 2013 season and is up to 207 pounds. Despite the added weight, he said that he feels stronger and more explosive, largely a result of the full-body workouts with Bohac.
When Goodwyn began with Bohac, he was able to bench-press 225 pounds 17 times — one of the standard NFL combine measuring sticks. In 90 days, he increased it to 24 repetitions.
"The thing that I enjoyed was his work ethic," said Bohac, who put Goodwyn through 2-2 1/2 hour workouts that routinely burned 800-1,000 calories. "He obviously wants to make it to the league, but he's not just motivated by a paycheck. He's accountable in many areas."
Goodwyn's agent, Charleston, S.C.-based Trey Robinson, steered him toward combines in Chantilly and Baltimore, as well as a college all-star game Feb. 14 at Furman University in South Carolina, in order to increase his exposure.
The all-star game included a lot of players from BCS programs, including Tariq Edwards and Jack Tyler from Virginia Tech, as well as players from Auburn, Missouri, Southern Cal, N.C. State, Maryland and Tennessee.
"That was a great experience," Goodwyn said. "I felt like I could play at that level. I didn't carry the ball as much as I would have liked, but I think I did well in the drills and practices."
The Chantilly combine was geared toward Canadian Football League scouts and coaches. Goodwyn was one of approximately 200 prospects in Baltimore at the Ravens' practice facility last weekend. He did well enough there that he was invited to a combine in Detroit next weekend.
The combines were particularly helpful, since ODU's pro day last month was hindered and eventually cut short by miserable weather.
Goodwyn admitted that he gets overwhelmed and frustrated at times by his workload and the uncertainty of his future. But he said that he keeps his eye on the May graduation date at ODU, as well as the possibility of getting into an NFL team's training camp.
He said that he's learned patience. He didn't receive a college scholarship offer, he said, until well into his senior year in high school. He was a traditional, I-formation power running back who not only had to adapt to a pass-oriented spread offense at ODU, but dealt with uneven playing time as his career progressed.
"The more I keep going and the more information I get, I'm more encouraged," he said. "I'm just hoping that somebody takes a chance on me."
Fairbank can be reached by phone at 757-247-4637.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun