The Houston Cougars wrapped up the bulk of their summer camps last week, holding four camps beginning Monday night inside TDECU Stadium. Camp season is said to be an important time for both prospects and coaches alike. Players are working hard to catch the eye of coaches and coaches are working hard to cement their thoughts on a player.
Cougars’ head coach Tom Herman made a point at every camp last week to point out to attending players that scholarships are not earned at camps. He explained to the attentive crowd at each location that scholarships were earned in the classroom and on Friday nights in pads. He did confirm though, at the end of his pre-camp speech, that camp performances can confirm or deny what evaluations had already been made by the staff leading up to it.
For Boling (TX) athlete Elijah Gooden, his confirmation of the staff’s evaluation of him coming into Monday night’s camp led to an offer, which then led to the two way standout committing to the Cougars.
“The three coaches I talked to were coach (Craig) Naivar, coach (Todd) Orlando and finally coach Herman when I actually committed,” Gooden told Cougars Digest. “The day before (Monday’s pre-camp visit) we had a really long conversation about my future, my education, my athleticism and all of that.”
Gooden’s athleticism is one of the more appealing traits he holds. He has had some conversations with the staff about where they may use him and he got to show the staff his skill set on both sides of the ball at their camp.
“I’ve had discussions with coach Orlando, mostly about linebacker,” Gooden said. Actually, at their camp I got reps at both linebacker and running back but the majority of them were at linebacker. If it’s linebacker it would be on the inside. When I get to college, wherever they’ll let me play, I’ll be happy.”
Regardless of which position he ultimately plays in college, Gooden knows one of his best attributes will help him make the transition.
“Throughout my football career, I’d say speed has been my best attribute,” he said. “It’s helped me along all of this way and I’m not going to get away from my bread and butter. Some people tell me I should run people over but why do that when I can use my speed and beat them to the edge.”
In 2015 Gooden was named to the District 13-3A All-Academic first team, a 13-3A All-District first team running back, a 13-3A All-District second team linebacker and an honorable mention 3A All-State player on offense.