Brandon Godfrey is Utah’s silent assassin

By Chris Kamrani, Asst. Sports Editor

After Utah’s season-opening victory against Michigan, wide receiver Bradon Godfrey stood in a moldy press conference room, currently being remodeled.

With camera lights blazing into his eyes and hoards of reporters making inquiries, the 6-foot 3-inch senior could do nothing but smile, something that surely helped signal the validity of his path in football.

Two of the Utes starting receivers, Derrek Richards and Brian Hernandez, graduated last year, leaving a hole in the team’s leadership, play-making ability and most notably, a ruffian style of football open for someone to fill.

The receiving corps, and the offense as a whole, found that missing link in Godfrey.

“Ever since he’s been here, he’s been one of hardest working players I’ve ever come across,” fellow wideout Freddie Brown said.

Anyone, be it a teammate, coach, opponent or even fan, would easily describe the senior wideout as a gritty, resilient competitor.

In a day and age of speedy, spread-offense football, Godfrey seems to be in touch with the inner essence of backbreaking receiving along with Jerry Rice and Ed McCaffrey8212;8212;both of whom weren’t afraid to make the catch over the middle and absorb the ensuing hit.

“Bradon is a tough guy,” wide receiver’s coach Aaron Roderick said. “A lot of times, (opponents) are ready to hit him, but he holds on to that ball.”

Godfrey’s long and winding trip to playing Saturdays at Rice-Eccles Stadium wasn’t the typical route many athletes take.

Growing up in Layton, Godfrey attended Layton High, lettering all three years in football, basketball and track.

Roderick said Godfrey was the product of an otherwise poor football program at Layton.

“I’ve seen (Godfrey) go from a really bad high school program, where he played on a really bad team, to coming here and earning everything he’s got,” Roderick said.

Godfrey was recruited to attend Southern Utah University by Roderick, who was the offensive coordinator for the Thunderbirds at the time.

“I went to SUU, kinda earned my way in there,” Godfrey said. “(I) earned the respect of the guys and just started playing down there.”

One season in Festival City, USA was enough for Godfrey, who then made his way up north to the U.

In 2005, Godfrey arrived at the U, trying to play his way onto a team that had just gone undefeated and won the Fiesta Bowl. Godfrey made a name for himself on the scout team, but could not suit up due to NCAA transfer rules.

“I did everything as hard as I could,” he said. “I started getting recognition and got some respect from the defense, and Coach Whit said if you keep working like you’re working, you’ll eventually earn a scholarship.”

Eventually, the hard work and tenacity paid off, and in 2006, Godfrey was able to showcase his talent and potential, despite playing through injury. He missed three games due to an ankle injury, but played the other 10 and finished No. 5 on the team in total receptions with 22 grabs.

“I knew it was going to be a whole new thing all over again,” he said. “It was twice as hard, but starting that whole process again, I started right when I got here and Coach (Roderick) gave me some reps.”

His encompassing talents, however, did not rest with his ability to absorb the big hits. He solidified himself as the Utes’ place holder last season, a position that is typically monopolized by the likes of quarterbacks, punters or other kickers. Godfrey’s solid hands give All-American Louie Sakoda the chance to do his job, and in turn, help the Utes win.

“Obviously, as a receiver, he’s proved to be pretty invaluable,” Sakoda said. “We always have those third-and-7s, where he’s always making those catches in traffic, and he always seems to be the guy taking all the hardest hits.”

Sakoda credits Godfrey’s superb holding ability to his wide receiver hands.

“There’s no one out here who’s better,” Sakoda said. “There’s been a couple low snaps, if there were anyone else holding, it wouldn’t have been there. Me and (Bradon) have a pretty good friendship, and you kinda have to have that with the kicker and holder. You have that trust, and you know it’s gonna be there.”

This season, Utah’s No. 81 has made waves with his strength, versatility and ability to make the clutch catches. Godfrey has already reeled in 209 yards this season on 20 catches8212;both team highs8212;including an 84-yard, one-touchdown performance at the Big House.

“He’s a huge part of what we do offensively,” quarterback Brian Johnson said. “We have a lot of guys that specialize in a lot of different things, but Bradon is the rock of this receiving corps.”

He is one of three mainstay seniors in the wide receiver corps this season, alongside Brown and Brent Casteel. While some players are the loud, cheerful type, Johnson said Godfrey is the guy that shows up to work and gets his job done8212;plain and simple.

“(Bradon) knows what he’s doing and he’s not a big rah-rah guy,” Johnson said. “He leads by his play on the field and that’s all you can ask of him.”

The humble Godfrey is glad he made the tough decision to leave a program of which he would eventually have become the belle of the ball to come to the U and follow his dream.

“It was a great opportunity for me,” he said. “Playing SUU ball was great and all, but that’s not what you dream about. It’s not what you get here. This is what I wanted and I felt I had the capabilities to succeed at this level.”

After all of the moves and work ethic put in, Godfrey is relishing his time in his last season of collegiate football. When told others on the team had dubbed him as the go-to guy on crucial third-downs, he laughed, reddened and said, “If that’s my role, just give me the ball.”

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Tyler Cobb

Bradon Godfrey is a tough receiver who is not afraid to go over the middle and take a hit.