Gooden Shows Promise For Future

Several younger players stood out two weeks ago in Massillon at the Nike Football SPARQ Training Combine. Reynoldsburg (OH) defensive end Mark Gooden made a positive impression last year as a sophomore starter, and also looked good in Massillon.

Reynoldsburg defensive end Mark Gooden impressed last year as a sophomore starter, and continued that trend with a strong performance in Massillon at the Nike Football SPARQ Training Combine.

Gooden, 6-foot-2, 215-pounds, has the frame to add weight and strength, but also showed the athleticism needed to play at a high level.

"I only played in five games last year, but in those games I had eight sacks and 29 tackles," Gooden stated. "I played behind two senior defensive ends early in the year, but when I blew up on the junior varsity they moved me up and made me a starter."

"I was most proud of how hard I played, whether it was chasing down backs from backside or being strong on the goal line," he added. "I need to work on my agility, speed and power."

College recruiters have started to take notice of Gooden, and he is drawing attention at this early stage.

"I've been in touch with both Penn State and Nebraska so far," he explained. "They have been to my high school and watched my film, so that's how they knew about me. I went to Penn State last year for a game and loved it there. It was a great experience being there as a recruit."

"They've changed coaches since I was there, but the new staff is still recruiting me," he continued. "By the time I graduate from high school they will be almost back at full strength, so I'm very interested in Penn State. Coach (Bo) Pelini was in my school also, and he wanted me to visit last year for a game but it was just too far for me to get there. I'd like to go there for camp next summer."

Gooden is definitely a prospect of note in Ohio for the class of 2016, and he is a player we will track closely over the next two years.


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