IU In Good Shape with Goodman?

There was a time when Mike Goodman, Jr., couldn't play football. Now, with more than 30 scholarship offers in hand after just one year as a varsity starter, the 6-6, 270-pound offensive tackle from Miami's Christopher Columbus H.S. looks like he can't miss.

There was a time when Mike Goodman, Jr., couldn't play football.

Now, with more than 30 scholarship offers in hand after just one year as a varsity starter, the 6-6, 270-pound offensive tackle from Miami's Christopher Columbus H.S. looks like he can't miss.

"It's definitely been overwhelming to be in a situation where I already have this many offers after just one season starting," Goodman said. "It's very rewarding."

With offers from schools such as Indiana, Auburn, Florida State, Boston College, Ole Miss, Wake Forest, South Carolina and Wisconsin, it's hard to fathom Goodman is relatively new to the game. But it wasn't until his ninth grade year at Palmetto Senior High School that he first played organized football. While most spend their days as a youth playing Pop Warner, Goodman didn't because of his size.

He had too much of it.

"They said I was too big," Goodman said.

So he instead focused on school. He did get another chance at the gridiron once he arrived in high school and went out for the team at Palmetto. But it wasn't until he transferred to Christopher Columbus H.S. that he really began to develop into a college-caliber talent.

"When I got to Columbus I didn't even know how to get into a three-point stance," Goodman said. "But due to great coaching plus hard work and dedication, I am what I am now. And I'm still growing as a player."

That's one of the things that appeals to so many college coaches. Goodman blends a huge frame with tremendous athleticism, and he's still a work in progress on the football field.

"A lot of coaches say I'm clay - I'm something they'd like to mold," Goodman said.

Coaches have also singled out Goodman's character as a huge draw as well. While he appears to have a very bright football future ahead of him, he says his college decision will be based largely on what each school offers academically.

"My main focus is to have a solid education," said Goodman, who added he plans to major in either computer science or psychology. "I want to get my degree. You need something fall back on."

He also said that despite a virtual Who's Who of college football powers that have already offered him, his decision won't be based on which school has the biggest name recognition.

"That's not a factor at all," Goodman said. "In my opinion, I'm not big on hype. To me, it's just a name.

"To me, it's what you put into the college and it's what you create as a team. So long as you have a solid team and a solid foundation and your main focus is to win games and to have togetherness on the team, you'll do big things. You don't have to have the weight on your name to carry the tradition."

That's a big reason why he's been impressed with the IU program. IU assistant coach Matt Canada has been recruiting Goodman, and he has the Hoosiers well positioned at this point in the process.

"I like him as a person," Goodman said. "He says good things about Indiana, that education is their main focus. Again, football is also what they do, and they want to see players excel.

"That's my main focus, and that's what I look for in a college. You can pick anybody to play football for you, but my whole thing do you want to see them excel? Not only in football, but in life? At Indiana, they make sure their players stay on top of what they're supposed to do to be successful on and off the field, and that's what I like. I like the confidence he has in Indiana."

Goodman also isn't shy about leaving Florida for college. While he's spent his high school career in the Sunshine State, a change of scenery wouldn't be bad in hims mind.

"I'm open to going anywhere," Goodman said. "I live in Miami, but I don't call this home. I have a range of family members and friends in other areas. I want to leave in a sense. This isn't necessarily a place want to stay.

"So me going to Indiana, it wouldn't a culture shock. I was born in Fairfax, Va., my mom was born and raised in Boston, and I've been going to Boston since I was in Pampers so I'm used to the cold weather."

With so many offers to date and more likely to come, Goodman won't be lacking in options when it comes time to make a decision. He admits he's already begun to whittle down his list to a degree and focus on a smaller list of potential destinations.

So is Indiana in that mix of programs he's still contemplating?

"Most definitely," Goodman said.

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