Terrell Bynum can do so much more than catch.
Take it from Jason Negro.
Or the Mater Dei Monarchs.
On Dec. 3, 2016, St. John Bosco met mighty Mater Dei in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship game. Mater Dei had already beaten Bosco once that season, and its offense included future FBS standouts quarterback J.T. Daniels (USC and Georgia) and wide receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown (USC), Bru McCoy (USC) and Osiris St. Brown (Stanford).
Which meant that Negro knew he’d need some reinforcements.
Even if they came from his own wide receivers room.
“We had to play Terrell defensively,” Negro, St. John Bosco’s head coach, told The Times last week. “And being able to play full-time offense, flip around and go out there and play full-time defense in our nickel looks and the versatility that he showed and how effortless it was for him to make that transition was probably the defining moment to me of what a special player he was.”
In a 42-28 St. John Bosco victory, it’s Bynum’s versatility that kept him on the field.
Not for the final time.
Bynum — who caught 58 passes for 737 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior at St. John Bosco — signed with Washington over USC, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Michigan, Miami and many more. He enrolled in the summer of 2017, but waited two full seasons before making his first collegiate catch.
And he earned playing time by proving he could contribute in other areas.
“I think what made him effective last year is he stayed the course. He was process-driven,” said second-year UW wide receivers coach Junior Adams. “One thing about TB is he’s very smart. He knows the system inside and out. Last year for us, going all the way back, if you look at the plays he had for us early on in the season he was really getting his hands dirty (blocking). That’s how he progressed.”
That progression didn’t always translate into statistical production.
At least, not for Bynum. And not right away.
“The physical guys are going to play, and it’s a mindset. It’s a daily mindset,” Adams said. “It’s on me as a coach to spark that fire every day, to put an emphasis on that. When you’re blocking and you’re physical in the run game, big runs come from wide receivers blocking downfield. Those are just as rewarding as catching touchdowns on the perimeter.
“They bought into it. You look at a guy like Terrell Bynum or Puka Nacua, and those guys bought into the run game last year, and it helped their game. They became really good pass-catchers for us when we needed them.”
Bynum was needed in a home game against Oregon on Oct. 19, and he responded with a career-high six catches for 43 yards. After recording just three catches in his team’s first seven games, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound receiver finished with 31 receptions, 368 receiving yards and two touchdowns — the most in all areas for Washington’s returning wideouts.
He became known as more than a blocker. When the Huskies needed a tough catch, they targeted No. 4.
“He got his opportunity against Oregon and he made a lot of big third-down plays for us, and he’s displayed that throughout the course of camp,” Adams said. “When we get into those finishing game situations — (head coach Jimmy) Lake calls them Kobe situations — TB has showed up for us in those situations. And it’s good, because him and Ty (Jones) and Jordan Chin kind of set the bar in that room. It’s good for those young (freshman wide receivers) to be able to see the standard.”
Without departed senior starters Aaron Fuller and Andre Baccellia, UW will depend on Bynum — as well as Jones, Chin, sophomores Puka Nacua, Marquis Spiker and Austin Osborne, and talented freshmen Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan and Sawyer Racanelli — to continue to set, and clear, the bar. And they’ll have to do so with a new starting quarterback, three inexperienced offensive linemen and a first-year offensive coordinator.
When asked what to expect from John Donovan’s pro-style scheme, Bynum said: “All I know is we can do everything. We have a lot of multiple things. We can do a lot. I’ve talked to (Donovan) about a lot of schemes. We can pound it. We can throw it. It just comes down to what we want to do that week.”
The scheme, it seems, is versatile — not unlike Washington’s redshirt junior wide receiver.
And week to week, game to game, Bynum will be counted on to do so much more than catch.
“Coming in (to UW) I for sure became humbled, having to go through that journey of being redshirted and not playing,” he said. “But I’m appreciative of it, because I have to grind for everything I’ve got.
“As far as making tough catches in practice, doing the dirty work blocking, it made me see not necessarily how it was going to be here but in the future at the professional level how I would have to grind if that situation came up again. I’m ready for it.”