Goddard Out to Prove He Belongs

St. Mary's Ryken (Leonardtown, Md.) isn't known as a Division-I-recruit-producing hotbed, but this year they have at least two upper-tier prospects who have caught college coaches' eyes. Offensive tackle Barnabas Baning figures to gain most of the attention, but on March 19 Ryken saw its second player reach the D-I level.

St. Mary's Ryken (Leonardtown, Md.) isn't known as a Division-I-recruit-producing hotbed, but this year they have at least two upper-tier prospects who have caught college coaches' eyes. Offensive tackle Barnabas Baning figures to gain most of the attention, but on March 19 Ryken saw its second player reach the D-I level.

Cornerback Kyle Goddard, a 5-foot-11, 175-pounder with 4.5 40-yard-dash speed, picked up his first verbal from Nevada, just added his second from Coastal Carolina, and could see plenty more action this summer.

"It was crazy, the ball finally dropped for me," Goddard said of his Nevada offer. "It's a big D-I offer, and Coach [Brian] Polian, the head coach, came all the way out here to see me. He told me if I wanted in, they had a spot for me. That meat a lot, because it shows he really realizes my potential and what I can bring to the table."

While Goddard is hoping to secure plenty more offers, he does have some initial interest in Nevada. He immediately began researching the program and is planning a summer trip out West.

"They play a pretty nice schedule and have some tough opponents," Goddard said. "And it's in Reno and I hear it's nice out there. I'd definitely like to take a trip out there in the summer and attend a camp out there as well."

Goddard had been hearing mainly from programs at the Division I-AA level, though Boston College has been in touch and Maryland has spoken to his coaches about him. The Ryken corner believes the interest will start to rise, however, once he hits the camp circuit. Goddard has also yet to take any visits besides Towson and Maryland, so right now he's a relative unknown other than what coaches have seen on tape.

"Since I haven't been to any camps or taken many trips, I don't think I've gotten the exposure I deserve yet," Goddard said. "So I'm going to work my butt off this summer to show them what I've got."

One camp Goddard will certainly be attending this June is in nearby College Park, Md. Goddard went to Maryland's 7-on-7 event last summer and is looking forward to showing out in front of the UMD staff this time around.

"It would be awesome to be recruited by Maryland and to get an offer from them," Goddard said. "If they offered, it would be hard to turn them down. It's a big-time Division I school, they're playing Big Ten ball, and they have those sick uniforms. My family would really appreciate if I could play at a school close to home too since then they could come see me play. I'd love to get an offer from Maryland."

Goddard didn't necessarily grow up a Terps fan, however. He said his dream schools are actually on the West Coast.

"Hawaii and San Diego State are two I'd love to check out. My dream as a kid was just to live the West Coast lifestyle, play football, go surfing – that sort of thing," Goddard said. "If that's not an option, then schools down in the Carolinas would be nice since I've driven through there and really liked it. Wake Forest, N.C. State, those would be awesome schools to go to."

The Ryken product will have a chance to show the Deacons and Wolfpack coaches what he can do when he camps at each school this summer. Along with his training group, Goddard will attend one-days at Maryland, North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest, Ohio, Michigan, Michigan State and Cincinnati, in addition to others that may crop up.

His goal? To prove that a Caucasian cornerback can hang at the top levels of college football.

"That's something that always sticks in the back of my mind, but I just play my game," Goddard said. "If the coaches like me, great, but if not, well, that's their loss.

"I think people underestimate my closing speed and don't think I can cover well, but I've proven I can," said Goddard, who also plays receiver but is being recruited primarily for corner. "My backpedal, my breaking speed, my quickness, I do all of that well. I do need to work on my press-man because I've mainly played zone and have only really been playing cornerback for two years.

"So, yes, I have plenty to work on, but I'm working hard to get the job done. I actually gave up playing baseball to dedicate myself to football. I run every day after school, and then I lift and do football drills to make sure I'm always getting better.

Goddard is coming off a season where he recorded 32 solo tackles, seven interceptions and three returns for touchdowns. He also hauled in 24 passes for 380 yards and nine scores at receiver, while taking one kick back to pay dirt.

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