Athlete of the Week: Collin Goldberg talks about his Atlanta upbringing and facing NFL talent

| Managing Sports Editor

Junior Collin Goldberg has been a standout player for the Washington University football team this year. (Clara Richards | Student Life)

Junior wide receiver Collin Goldberg has been central to the Washington University football team’s perfect start. Only four games into the season, Goldberg has broken two of the WashU Bears’ program records with a 97-yard touchdown reception and 97-yard kickoff return.  In addition, Goldberg leads the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) — WashU’s football conference — in receiving touchdowns (6) and kickoff return yards (234), and sits third in the conference for receiving yards (356). Student Life sat down with Goldberg to talk about his remarkable start to the season, his Atlanta upbringing, and this season’s outlook for the Bears football team. 

This interview was edited for length and clarity

Student Life: So, first question: walk me through your first-ever football memory.

Collin Goldberg: So, the first football memory I really remember was playing a couple of years of youth football — probably seven or eight. I was the quarterback at the time — I’m obviously not a quarterback anymore. But I just remember playing with my friends. I mean, it’s hard to pick one memory but I remember I was on the Tar Heels and that was fun. And then we won one game that season. So I remember that one went pretty well. That’s probably my first football memory. 

SL: Obviously you cannot talk about Atlanta without recognizing its culture from a football standpoint. In what ways has your hometown influenced your love for the game and in what ways does Atlanta show up in football for you? 

CG: I love Atlanta, I love where I’m from. The football culture there is amazing. I mean, the competition in high school was absurd. I played against guys that are in the NFL right now. I still stay in touch with some guys who are on some big college teams like Nick Jackson, a linebacker at Iowa State University. He is a dude that I look up to a lot and has been a big role model to me. He was a senior when I was a sophomore. It’s the first year that I really played. So that was great. 

SL: So going off that, talk to me about that transition, coming from a big city like Atlanta to playing football in St. Louis? 

CG: The transition for me was fairly smooth. I was lucky enough to play my freshman year too, which helps. And you know, the St. Louis team, we have the Battlehawks now, which is awesome. I went to a game last year and I will say that the St. Louis community does love football like that. The game was awesome. But I mean, it was pretty smooth. I love the city of St. Louis. Last year, we did something where a youth football team came in at halftime, which was really cool to see. Even though we’re a smaller school, kids will still come out just to see football. I think our crowds are bigger this year. We have more people involved who want it to be better, and I think Coach Keen does a fantastic job of promoting us.

Goldberg in action. (Elle Su | Student Life)

SL: Talk to me about this season. In just four games, you’ve set two WashU program records and the team is undefeated. What have these performances been like for you? 

CG: The season has been good so far. But there’s always room for improvement. I mean, we’re not playing perfect football out there. But our chemistry is really good. And I would say for me, this is the first year where it’s not like I’m trying to learn the plays or understand coverages. It is the first year where I understand everything and now I’m just playing football, so that’s really fun. Me and [graduate quarterback Matt] Rush have fantastic chemistry on the deep ball and quick short routes now, to where I’m catching the ball quickly out of the break and he’s hitting me in stride.

StudLife: You just mentioned Rush there. Can you talk to me a little bit about your relationship with him? In what ways is your chemistry on display during games?

CG: Last spring he left WashU to train with Oregon football. So this summer, when he was coming back, he called me. We talked and luckily enough, I was about to start an internship in Chicago, which is where he’s from. So we were able to build up connection and chemistry while being in the same place. When I started playing as a freshman, I didn’t really have the voice or the confidence. I was still kind of figuring some stuff out going into this year. So yeah, it’s been awesome. I mean, it’s super fun. I love Rush.

SL: Last year, there were talks about making the playoffs and challenging for the championship. Does the team still have this mindset going into this new season, where you retained many core guys on the roster from last year?

CG: We talk a lot about how it’s ourselves playing the game. Our opponent obviously matters, but in general, we try to play our best football on a week-to-week basis. North Park was last week. We try not to look too far ahead to North Central or Wheaton, which are obviously two of the better teams in the conference but really focus on ourselves and our own game plan. Secondly, there’s a lapse in effort or something from a backside player. So when we really focus on that stuff, we have ourselves being the best going into these big games. I personally think we’re the best team in our conference. Of course, I’m going to say that. North Central is a fantastic team. Wheaton is a fantastic team. There are other great teams in our conference. But I look at ourselves, our own players. We focus on ourselves more than the other team and then we’ll plan for the other team after that. That’s really our mindset. 

SL: And final question, which is a StudLife tradition that we are bringing back this year. We ask each athlete of the week: Would you rather have fish for hands or adopt a child every time you hear Bohemian Rhapsody?

CG: I mean, the financially right decision is probably fish for hands, but I mean, I kind of need my hands to play receiver. So, I’ll probably just have to have a lot of kids. Maybe I’ll plug my ears…So I’d probably say, adopt a kid every time I hear Bohemian Rhapsody.

StudLife’s Athlete of the Week ‘Would You Rather Tracker?’: Bohemian Rhapsody: 1 – Fish: 0

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