Local Standout Favors UM

Miami is the current leader for this local prospect. He discusses why Miami is on top along with some goals he would like to achieve this season in the various sports he is participating in.

At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas standout Tavares Gooden has played defensive end his entire prep career. That's about to change this season.

"I'm going to be playing both linebacker and defensive end this season," Gooden said. "I figure that I'll be a linebacker in college so that's a good thing."

Gooden, who also plays center on the Raiders basketball team, is also aiming for another state championship in track this season. He won the state title in the discus as a sophomore with a throw of 178 feet.

"After I won my sophomore year, I used my junior year to work on more technique," he said. "I ended up throwing 180 but didn't win states. Right now I'm throwing between 200 and 205 so I think I'll have a pretty good chance."

Gooden, who has not yet received his SAT scores, said he's primarily looking at five schools right now.

"The ones I'm looking at are Miami, LSU, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Oklahoma," he said. "They have all offered me a scholarship. I would probably put UM ahead of the others at this time."

The talented linebacker talked more about the Hurricanes.

"UM's a good school," he said. "They're the hometown team and they're always winning. I've actually been to a lot of their games and I really like it there. I went to their [spring] game and hung out with other recruits. Then the NIKE Camp was held there. The facilities and everything are nice. Right now, Miami's a step ahead of everyone else but I won't make a final decision until after I take my visits after the season."

Gooden, whose team begins its season against Tyrone Moss and Ely High School on Sept 6, said he has other things on his mind.

"I want to make it back to the state title game this year and win it," he said. "We had some key injuries late in the year and weren't able to finish it. This year, that's the goal and it all starts against Ely because they're the No. 1 ranked team in 5A."

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