Illinois discovered Jeff Allen when he lost weight and impressed at a summer camp. He is now the starting offensive left tackle as a true sophomore. Chicago Morgan Park lineman Maurice Goodman may fall into a similar category.
"Yeah, I could stand some more conditioning. I need to lose a lot of weight."
Standing only 6', 1" is a drawback in itself as colleges prefer taller, rangier performers. But when Goodman weighs in at 333 pounds, his true gifts are muted as well.
Talent evaluator Randy Taylor believes Goodman has outstanding potential if he were to lose weight as he has a good feel for his position. Taylor even thinks he might someday have NFL potential if he works hard and wants it badly enough.
Right now, Goodman is talking to anyone who will listen. He is quick to sell himself.
"I play left guard at Morgan Park. I'm an outstanding student, and I'm coachable. This was my first year starting for the varsity, but previous to this I played a couple games my sophomore and freshman years."
Goodman has played on both sides of the line, but he prefers offense.
"I played defensive tackle previously, but just this last year I played only offensive line. I love it. It was a big transition from defensive tackle to left guard because the technique is so different. But I love coming around the corner and pancacking people."
Intelligence is important for an offensive lineman, and Goodman uses his smarts to good effect.
"Basically, besides a quarterback you can take over a game. It's really up to the offensive line to lead the offense. I like being able to use my knowledge as an offensive lineman. We're the smartest guys on the team. My grade point average is a 3.2."
Goodman is drawing interest from a number of schools.
"I've talked to Miami, Toledo, Boston, Miami of Ohio, Iowa, Ohio State. I've got offers from Toledo and Boston College."
He has a strong interest in Illinois, but so far that interest has not been reciprocated.
"Illinois hasn't contacted me at all. They came up to my school though, and I talked to the coach. But I haven't received any mail."
Goodman knows he has to improve.
"I've got to work on my feet. A lot of scouts told me my feet are good, but I know there's still more work I've got to do. And I've got to work on my speed."
He thinks his conditioning and especially lack of height have hurt him in the eyes of Illini coaches.
"That's what I think it might be, but I just need them to give me a chance, let them see me play. I'm going to a one-day camp June 14th."
Goodman is one of those players whose perfected self is hidden beneath some extra weight. If he becomes motivated to lose that dross and get into top condition, he could still become a valued recruiting prospect and a successful college player.