Terrell Bynum is finally building momentum.
Whether he likes it or not.
Take that unfortunate morning in February, for example. Bynum — a 6-foot-1, 198-pound redshirt sophomore wide receiver — woke and embarked on the menacing, snowy drive to an early workout. The Long Beach, Calif., native inched down the notoriously steep hill on Northeast 45th Street near campus.
At least, it started as an inch.
“I was going down a hill, and I’ve never driven in snow before, and I was trying to stop and I was going like five miles an hour and my car would not stop,” Bynum said on Monday. “It bumped a guy in front of me. It wasn’t terrible at all.”
It wasn’t terrible, for one thing, because the damage wasn’t too devastating. But that wasn’t the only reason.
“I saw people going like 5 mph,” Bynum explained. “I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve got to make it to workouts.’ I actually made it on time.
“I made it. That’s all I care about.”
In the car, and out of it, Bynum is starting to gain some speed. The former 247Sports three-star recruit redshirted his freshman season in 2017 and then underwent hand surgery to repair a right thumb injury in January 2018. He failed to secure a single catch in his first two full seasons on campus, despite appearing in 10 games last season.
Why, then, has he suddenly started to surge?
“Having the surgery on my hand, I wasn’t able to catch footballs like I wanted to,” Bynum said. “This offseason and in the winter I was able to do everything I wanted to do — get in the film room, catch as many balls as I needed to, run routes, just do everything. I feel like it’s finally paying off.”
This time last spring, Bynum described his temperament as “a little timid. I wasn’t really talking much. I was kind of just laying low, staying behind.” But as his confidence has come, the catches have accrued.
The former St. John Bosco standout produced perhaps the biggest offensive highlight in the Huskies’ first five practices last Friday, sprinting past cornerback Keith Taylor and snagging a rainbow in stride from junior quarterback Jacob Eason for an untouched touchdown. He later boxed out redshirt freshman cornerback Kyler Gordon and high-pointed a jump ball for another massive gain.
Bynum also impressed at last month’s Husky Combine, finishing fourth on the team with a 4.48-second 40-yard dash.
The goal now is to prove Friday’s practice wasn’t a fluke.
“I think Terrell’s been playing consistent and making plays with the ball in the air and not thinking as much, which I think is awesome,” offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan said Monday. “When you hit that second, third year, you just kind of go out there and trust your athleticism.”
While returning wide receivers Aaron Fuller, Ty Jones and Quinten Pounds have been sidelined due to injuries this spring, Bynum’s athleticism has been on display. He’s making the most of his starting reps.
He’s ascending, and he isn’t surprised.
“I’ve always felt (it was my time),” Bynum said. “This year has probably been the most I’ve ever grinded, so there was going to be an opportunity regardless of if (the injured wide receivers) were there or not.
“But we do have to pick up the slack, because we don’t have a lot of guys right now. But when they come back we’re going to be something dangerous.”
Despite the delay, Bynum is definitely dangerous. And, according to offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan, his case isn’t all that uncommon.
“I think once in a blue moon you get a guy that steps on campus and the adjustment is not very great,” Hamdan said on Monday. “Like Myles Gaskin, the day he got here everybody was kind of going, ‘OK, this guy is probably going to play.’
“For the rest of the guys, I think they all take it at a different pace — the adjustment and the school and the social experience. From the football side of it, we’re just fired up that we see a guy (in Bynum) that’s consistently been working towards it and is starting to get what he deserves.”
Of course, first-year UW wide receivers coach Junior Adams has also played a part in that — and not just for Bynum.
“(Former wide receivers coach Matt) Lubick was awesome, but coach Junior Adams is just a different energy,” Bynum said. “He riles us up, gets us going, makes it a lot more fun atmosphere.
“Basically he’s just told us to have fun. ‘Don’t go out there trying to think too much. Go out there and talk stuff against the defense. Just have fun.’ We’re not out there just lackadaisical. It’s actually a fun energy.”
So far this spring, Bynum hasn’t needed to talk stuff. His tape has done the talking. But that tape is still limited; it lacks so much as a regular season catch. When August arrives, he’ll have to fend off Fuller, Jones, senior Andre Baccellia, several redshirt freshmen and highly touted signee Puka Nacua for opportunities. He’ll have to keep proving himself.
He’ll have to keep building momentum … and hopefully it won’t be too terrible.
“Coach Pete recruits everybody from California and expects us to drive in the snow,” Bynum said with a laugh. “It’s interesting.”