Monday, March 05, 2007

Hoosier Haul | by Pat

With nearly 40 juniors coming to campus for last weekend's Junior Day, Fort Wayne wide receiver John Goodman got right to the point when it came time to talk with Charlie.

A little before 10 a.m. Sunday inside Charlie Weis' office at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex, Fort Wayne receiver John Goodman peppered the Notre Dame football coach with a few questions, particularly about school and what would happen if Goodman picked ND.

"After I got done asking the questions, I was like, 'All right coach, I like how you answered everything,'" Goodman said Sunday night from his home. "So I just told him right then and there that I was committing."
The third public member of the recruiting class of 2008, the 6'3", 190 pound receiver is also the second Indiana native to pick the Irish, following Braxston Cave on Saturday. Goodman can now go from hearing Walter Sobchak jokes to incessant comparisons to current Chicago Cub Jeff Samardzija, himself a 6'4, 190 pound receiver from Indiana. That apparently doesn't bother Goodman, and he welcomes the comparison.
"My goal is to emulate Jeff as well as I can," Goodman said.
With offers from Michigan, Purdue, Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ball State, Goodman was starting to see more and more scholarship opportunities come in, but he decided to end the recruiting process early and make up his mind for his childhood favorite.

“I have the next five years of my life set and my college all ready to go,” Goodman said. “I don’t have to worry about any more colleges talking to me or bothering me.

“I’m in the perfect position and I’m thankful for that.”

What's interesting about Goodman is that even at 6'3", he's his team's kick and punt returner. He returned two of each for touchdowns last year, averaging a very impressive 41.6 yards a kick return. It's one thing to be a tall receiver in high school who can out-jump his competition, but finding success at kick returner is a pretty good sign of athleticism.

It's likely that Goodman won't be returning kicks at ND, but he will join an already tall ND receiving corp. With 6'4" sophomore Robby Parris, 6'5" freshman Duval Kamara, and now 6'3" John Goodman, ND's QB of the future should have plenty of high-altitude targets.

It's also interesting to see ND's change in recruiting philosophy, at least for the early going. Last year at this time ND had not offered all that many scholarships, whereas this year the offer count is pretty high. (Exact numbers are hard to come by, but a ballpark figure is about 40 offers are already out compared to maybe 20 or so last year). One factor might have to do with the year-to-year differences in talent levels -- for instance, it looks like that there are a lot of very talented linebackers this year -- but part of it likely goes back to last year, when ND was stingy with offers, but were left empty-handed when a top-tier recruit chose another school. As a result of more offers being sent out, more players can start to include the Irish as they plan out their unofficial visits and summer campus trips, and they won't be wondering when/if an offer is coming -- they already have one in hand. There is no ideal recruiting blueprint, so it will be interesting to see how this new approach works out over the course of the coming year.