His visit to campus this past weekend proved how much Northwestern likes him. The coaching staff and players made it a memorable trip—one that could possibly lead to an early commitment.
"Everyone knows what's going on and it feels like they're interested," Goens told PurpleWildcats.com. "They do their homework on me and my family."
The Wildcats catered their pitch effectively. They need defensive end depth in future seasons, and Goens would be an excellent start to their 2015 group. He holds offers from schools including Arizona, Boise State, California, Colorado, Miami (Fla.) and Washington State.
Though he has no specific list, NU and Washington are the schools of focus at the moment. The Wildcats set the standard, and he'll visit Chris Petersen and Washington two weekends from now.
The primary list makes sense given his emphasis on academics. Goens spoke at length about his interests.
"My mom's a principal so she helps out and tells me what's good," he said.
As for the combination of economics and business: "It's a very good program. It incorporates a lot of things that I'm curious about. It's something that's exciting when a program is very well rounded."
NU also prides itself on recruiting players from across the country. With distance a factor—and sometimes a source of worry—for certain prospects, they usually enlist current players to explain the culture change. They paired Goens up with Brett Walsh, who was also a California recruit.
"Guys play from all different areas. I talked to them about how the adjustment to here was," Goens said. "Their honest answers let you know.
"The distance is a big deal, but asking them how they've dealt with situations, it helps a lot. Kids my age with backgrounds like him … You get to see how they deal with it."
At this point, with the NU pitch intact, Goens will prepare for his visit to Washington and "see how it compares." He has yet to plan other trips, but could end the process as soon as he feels comfortable and certain of his decision.
"If I feel there are other visits to be made, there will be," he added.
In April and May, the commitment process tends to begin. The coaching staff works on key players. They bring them to campus. They hope it works out. With Goens strongly considering NU, they have to continue the process and close successfully.
"I just want to keep my relationship with the coaches strong," he said. "I want to keep communicating with them and learning about the university and the program itself.
"If they could make it a little warmer, that would be nice."
Of course, Goens was joking. But in this recruitment, it looks like the Wildcats can accomplish everything else.