Goodman has finally been thrust into the role that he's been gunning for since arriving to campus in January of 2009. He's played in all 27 games during his first two seasons at Clemson and has over 670 snaps under his belt, but has started only once.
"He's put his time in," said head coach Dabo Swinney, who signed Goodman shortly after he was named head coach. "He's been backing up a pretty good player here for a couple of years. So, Malliciah is no chopped liver.
"He is a very, very good football player…if we hadn't Da'Quan, probably the number one pick in the draft, in front of him for the last two years. He probably would have started most places."
With freshman defensive ends like Tavaris Barnes, Corey Crawford and Joe Gore currently on the roster, and a couple of others set to arrive later this summer, Goodman realizes the responsibility he's been asked to take on in 2011.
"You just got step in and be in that leader role like [Bowers was] to the defensive line, and pick everybody up," Goodman said. "[Make sure] everybody's accountable for themselves and just keep the group together."
Hard to believe that it was just two years ago that Goodman arrived as a wide-eyed, early enrolled freshman from West Florence High School. And he's been the most productive contributor from the ‘Dandy Dozen' recruiting class.
"When I look at it, I remember coming in here as a freshman, still seeing Ricky Sapp and all of them here. Now, they're gone," Goodman said. "I'm a junior, so I [need to] just step in, do my part and bring on the younger guys like they did us."
Two days into his third year of spring practice, Goodman is pleased with his progression. He's put on more than 10 pounds since the end of last season and is up to 279. Plenty of work lies ahead as spring practice turns into summer workouts and summer workouts segue into fall camp.
"I just want to step my play-making abilities up, straightening up my technique and getting my motor going," Goodman said. "I have a good motor, just making more plays."
Year three under the direction defensive coordinator Kevin Steele seems to be moving along well for Goodman.
"The tempo's up and the defense is clicking like we always are. We're just getting everything right and getting stuff installed," Goodman said.
Part of that uptick in tempo comes is attributed to the presence of offensive coordinator Chad Morris. Goodman said dealing with that pace on the practice field in March will help prepare the Tigers for Saturdays in the fall.
"It's getting us in condition and getting us in shape—helping us communicate better. Once the play's over, they're spotting the ball and starting another one," he said. "The defense, everybody has to be communicating, looking at the signal and passing it along. It's brought us together a lot."
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