Introducing the 2006 Class: Travis Goethel

He looks more like your typical Southern California surfer than a talented linebacker. However, Pac-10 coaches and other programs in western region know better than that. A fine senior season made Travis Goethel one of the most coveted California players in his position, and a late strong push by the Sun Devils ultimately landed him amongst the maroon and gold.

Travis Goethel, a 6-2 215 linebacker from Vista (Calif.), wasn't what one would call a later bloomer. He had a solid junior campaign and played on a Panthers team that finished Co-Champions in the C.I.F. San Diego Section Division I. Yet, not many programs got an early and serious recruiting jump on him.

"It was pretty late in the recruiting season before Arizona State contacted me," recalled Goethel. "It was like three weeks before signing day. The coaches made a very good impression. I always liked Arizona State and I was happy they were interested in me. I watch a lot of Pac-10 football and I always thought that it was one of the better programs."

His official visit to Tempe was obviously a successful one, and seeing a familiar old face did aid his ultimate decision. "I like everything I saw at Arizona State," said Goethel. "(current Sun Devil player) Tom Altieri is a friend of my mine and we both played at Vista. Arizona State was just a good fit for me."

Before ASU, Utah and Washington were the schools the linebacker was heavily considering. Being that he was one of the best in his position in the state, and played in the prestigious CaliFlorida high school All-Star game, makes you wonder why he didn't receive more interest early on. You can count the linebacker himself, as someone who was baffled by all this. "Yeah, I was surprised that more schools didn't look at me," admitted Goethel. "But I was like whatever…I knew if I keep working hard I would get to play college football and get a free education, and that's all that mattered."

His pragmatic approach was probably one virtue that endeared him to ASU's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Bill Miller, and vice versa. "He was a big influence on my decision," explained Goethel. "Ever since I met him, I liked him. He's an old school coach that tells you what you need to do and if you do it you'll be fine. I really liked his philosophy - I guess because I consider myself an old school player."

Goethel was listed as the No. 30 linebacker in the nation and the No. 30 player in the state of California by SuperPrep. He was named first-team all-state by Cal-Hi Sports, as well as Defensive Player of the Year by the C.I.F. San Diego Section, and the San Diego Tribune. In 2005 he registered 155 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, eight quarterback sacks, five interceptions (two for touchdowns), one fumble caused and one recovery. "My man technique is something I need to work on," he remarked, "like not getting sucked in by fakes. I can read the field pretty good and I have good game speed."

Goethel will be part of big class of incoming linebackers – five total, with just one of them (Garrett Judah) being a junior college transfer. "I don't think that will impact me," he said. "I'm gonna go out there every time and give it all I have. The competition is good for all of us because it will make us play harder. You have to work hard anyway to succeed."

His playing position and surfer looks have already evoked comparisons to the late Pat Tillman. Goethel, who has already heard those references, couldn't be more honored to be mentioned in the same breath as the Sun Devil legend. "I'm stoked by that," he remarked enthusiastically. "He was a great player and everyone at Arizona State has a lot of respect for him. It's cool."

These days Goethel is participating in the school's bridge program (this interview was conducted prior to his arrival at ASU), and cutting his summer vacation short didn't include any regrets on his behalf. "I hung out with all my friends in the summer," he said, "So I didn't mind leaving early for Arizona State. I've been here 19 years already (smile).

And before he knows it, it will be four or five years that he has spent here in Tempe. All indications are that it should be a memorable time period for both Travis Goethel and the maroon and gold faithful.

Recruit Profile

Name

Travis Goethel

High School

Vista (Calif.)

Position

LB

Height

6-2

Weight

215

Date of birth

7/27/87

Birthplace

Oceanside, Calif.

Nickname

"The players at the CaliFlorida bowl called me ‘Sunshine', but I didn't have a nickname in high school."

Favorite TV show

"King of the Hill"

Favorite singer/band

>"The Game"

Favorite food

"Mexican"

Favorite drink

"Dr. Pepper"

Favorite athlete

"Lavar Arrington"

Favorite pro team

"San Diego Chargers"

Person you most admire

"My high school coach (Dan Williams). I saw how hard he works at his job."

First football memory

"I was five when I went to my first Chargers game"

One thing most people don't know about me

"I'm more of an athlete than people think I am. People look at my long hair, and they think I'm a surfer. I don't even surf."

Why did you choose ASU?

"They're in the Pac-10 and the closest school to home."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"Just working in a good job."

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