TOWSON, Md. - Over the last three seasons, senior John Godlasky has been a complete tight end for the Tiger football team.
An outstanding blocker, he was honored as the Tigers' Lineman of the Year in 2008, becoming the first tight end ever to win the award.
"It really made me feel proud to win the Lineman of the Year Award," Godlasky admits. "It's a very nice honor to have."
Although the 6-4, 240-pound senior was honored to be recognized for his blocking skills, he would much rather be catching passes.
In his career, the Hummelstown, Pa. native has caught 33 passes for 347 yards and he has made those receptions count. Of his 33 catches, 27 per cent have gone for touchdowns.
After catching two touchdown passes as a sophomore, he caught four TD passes in 2008. In the Tigers' home opener in September, he caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Chroniger to help Towson beat Coastal Carolina, 21-17.
In the last two weeks, he has caught two more TD passes. At Northeastern, he scored the Tigers' only touchdown on a six-yard pass play. In the Tigers' upset bid against number one-ranked Richmond, his 19-yard touchdown reception tied the score at 7-7 in the second quarter.
"Of course, I'd rather be catching passes," he says. "I'm out there blocking on almost every play. But I think that has helped me catch so many touchdown passes. The defenses are used to me blocking. When we have a short yardage situation, we run some play-action and I can drift out into the flat. The defenses tend to forget about me and I can get wide open."
Many of Godlasky's touchdown receptions have come in short-yardage situations. In the Tigers' 28-21 win at Morgan State in 2007, he caught a two-yard TD pass from Sean Schaefer on first-and-goal in the fourth quarter, putting Towson ahead to stay. Later in his sophomore year, he caught a game-tying 21-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of Towson's game at Maine. That touchdown pass came on fourth-and-one.
As a junior, Godlasky caught four touchdown passes in short yardage spots. In the Tigers' 37-32 Homecoming win over Rhode Island, he caught a 38-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-two with 6:28 left in the game. His TD catch gave Towson a 37-19 lead and proved to be the winning points in the Tigers' win.
Several weeks later, he caught a 27-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-one against William & Mary. His touchdown reception tied the game at 7-7 in the second quarter. When the Tigers made a valiant effort to upset 6th-ranked Villanova in mid-November, Godlasky caught a two-yard TD pass from Schaefer with 5:02 left in the game, cutting Towson's deficit to 34-31.
"On some of those plays, I was so wide open that it seemed like the ball would never arrive," Godlasky says. "Fortunately, I haven't dropped any of those passes but it's strange to be so open."
In the Tigers' win over Coastal, he gave Towson a 7-0 lead when he caught a cross-field pass from Chroniger.
"The play was designed for everyone to go to the left except me," he explains. "Tommy ran to his left, stopped and lobbed the ball up to me. I was all alone on the right side of the field. I was so wide open that I was a little worried I'd drop the ball. But it finally arrived and I held on."
With the Tigers placing more emphasis on the running game this season, Godlasky has done a lot more blocking.
"Last season, we couldn't run the ball at all," he says. "That made throwing the ball much harder.
"When the new coaching staff came in, we spent a lot more time practicing the running game," he adds. "I know the rest of the offensive line likes the new philosophy. It's more satisfying to block for the running game than pass blocking. On the line, we feel like we have more control of the football game when we are running the ball effectively."
After the first two games of his senior year, Godlasky was sidelined with a case of appendicitis. After his surgery, he missed the Tigers' games against Morgan State and New Hampshire. He had started 25 consecutive games prior to be sidelined.
On October 10, he celebrated his return to the starting lineup by helping the Tigers post a 36-28 win at Rhode Island.
While some aspects of his senior season have been frustrating, Godlasky has enjoyed working with Jared Ambrose, the Tigers' tight ends coach.
"It's great having Coach (Jared) Ambrose working with the tight ends," he says. "Prior to this season, we didn't really have a tight ends coach. We would have to go to the wide receivers meetings and the offensive line meetings. Whenever I had a question, I would have to figure out which coach I should talk to."
A product of Hershey High School in Pennsylvania, Godlasky is hoping to get an opportunity to play professionally after he graduates.
"I am going to keep working hard in the weight room after the season ends," he says. "I really want to give it my best shot and see what happens."
However, the Exercise Science major also has his sights set on a coaching career.
"I would really like to become a Strength and Conditioning Coach somewhere," he says. "That's what I want to do at some point. I like the idea of coaching and that's what I am planning for."
-- TIGERS --