It isn’t every day that an undrafted football player from a smaller school gets to work out one-on-one with an NFL Hall of Fame and Steelers legend like Mel Blount, but C.J. Goodwin did just that. Goodwin earned enough accolades from Blount that a phone call was made to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization and the young man from Linsly Prep (Wheeling, West Virginia) was given a tryout. On Wednesday, Goodwin, a wide receiver, was signed to the Steelers roster.
Mark Kaboly of the Tribune-Review posted confirmation of the signing on Twitter.
New steelers WR CJ Goodwin worked for Mel Blount. Blount called steelers to get Goodwin a tryout. Week later they sign him. #CalU
— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly_Trib) June 4, 2014
A lot of people outside of West Virginia and Pennsylvania are wondering who C.J. Goodwin is. Chauraun Goodwin was a multi-sport standout at Linsly Prep. Goodwin began his collegiate football career at Fairmont State University (Fighting Falcons) before transferring to California University (of Pennsylvania) in 2013. Coming from two schools that aren’t that well known outside of local circles, Goodwin may have been overlooked altogether if it weren’t for Blount.
At 6 feet 3 inches and 190 pounds, Goodwin is a good sized receiver. It’s unlikely his college statistics alone were what sealed the deal with the Steelers. In 2012, Goodwin was third on the Fairmont State squad with 24 catches for 440 yards, but led the team with an 18.3 yards-per-reception average. He recorded four touchdowns. An 83-yard touchdown reception against West Liberty (9/22) was the third-longest in school history. In 2013, Goodwin moved to Cal U and added eleven catches for 126 yards and a single touchdown.
Blount was the prototypical cornerback of his era and a man who can recognize NFL talent. An alumni of Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Blount was a standout. While Southern University is a Division I FCS and National Collegiate Athletic Association school, how Blount came to be aware of Goodwin who spent time in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Association, NCAA Division II and Mountain East Conference while at Fairmont State and Cal U is an interesting side note.
Since his retirement from the NFL, including Director of Player Relations for the league (1983-90), Blount founded the Mel Blount Youth Home, a Christian mission and shelter for victims of child abuse and neglect. The first was opened in 1983 in Toombs County, Georgia, and a second was opened in 1989 in Claysville, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh. Goodwin spent time working for the Claysville organization as indicated by his LinkedIn profile. That one seemingly obscure connection may have just changed Goodwin’s life forever.
It’s a feel-good story that may play out to be even better if the Steelers find that Goodwin can compete at the next level and give Pittsburgh yet another offensive weapon. From Combine video at both Detroit and Indianapolis in 2014, Goodwin has good hands, quick feet and showed an ability to be explosive off the line.