Young Receivers Have Big Goals

John Goodman and Deion Walker are not limiting themselves to fighting for the third receiver spot. The sophomores-to-be talk about how they have improved over the last few months and Goodman addresses the possibility of him playing quarterback.

One of the most interesting revelations that Charlie Weis offered during his press conference prior to the start spring practice was the vision of sophomore-to-be wide receiver John Goodman playing some quarterback.

Goodman played quarterback at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne (IN), although he was recruited to Notre Dame as a wide receiver. But with only two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, Weis needs to be prepared and Goodman could be an emergency option along with walk-on quarterback Nate Montana.

Other options for Weis include former prep quarterbacks Dan McCarthy, who will be a sophomore safety in 2009, and early enrollee cornerback E.J. Banks.

"I'd go to Montana on just the regular things here, first of all. But if we were going to run an expanded version of our offense, it would be Goodman," said Weis. "If we were going to be an isolated version of the offense, it would probably - because E.J.'s [limited] right now - it would probably be Danny McCarthy."

When Weis says ‘expanded' it appears that Goodman would not be limited to a run-first threat like McCarthy and Banks would be. Weis even compared Goodman's arm to those of Jimmy Clausen and Dayne Crist.

"He can throw the ball as far and as hard as the first two guys," said Weis. "I mean, this kid can sling the football."

Goodman is not even thinking about getting under center again, though.

"I'm looking at receiver right now, that's my main objective," said Goodman. "I haven't even really thought about it. My main objective is receiver, that's my main position…I haven't even worked on quarterback since high school."

While he fought off any talk of a return to his prep position, Goodman did offer one piece of information that backs up Weis' claims.

"My farthest throw was 85 yards," said Goodman.

Still, Weis made it clear that he wants Goodman focusing on wide receiver and not a position change that is unlikely at best.

"I want to give him an opportunity to compete as wide receiver, because I can see him in our two-deep at wide receiver," said Weis. "So first things first, before I get him ready to be the third quarterback, I want to see if I can get him in the two-deep at wide receiver."

Goodman's classmate Deion Walker was also a signal-caller in high school, but Walker is not about to throw his name into the mix at quarterback.

"No, because I know what the DB's do from my perspective and I know it has to look at lot worse with the linebackers glaring you down," he said.

Weis said that, for Goodman, sitting out his freshman year was an eye-opening experience.

"Every time a freshman comes in here, because they were the stud at the high school they're in, they figure that's how it's going to be walking in the door. Sometimes your eyes get opened a little bit," said Weis. "From the beginning of last year to the end of last year how his confidence grew was absolutely tremendous… He already had good ball skills, that was not the issue, he has become a lot more confident."

Weis expects that confidence to translate to the field for both Goodman and Walker, who also sat out his freshman season.

"Just the other day I talked to both he and Deion. It's time not to be freshmen anymore. They went through their year sabbatical," said Weis. "It's time to now go ahead and get in the mix. I really like what I've seen out of them, I really do."

Goodman's renewed confidence is obvious when talking to him.

"I feel like people can't really guard me anymore," he said.

Both Goodman and Walker credit their high self-esteem to the hard work they put in over the offseason.

"I hit the weights pretty hard," said Walker, who gained eight pounds. "I hit the weight room, worked on my feet a lot, did a lot of footwork drills and worked on my hands, caught a lot of passes. It's helped me out a lot. I can tell, even in the first few days of practice, just getting off the line and I can lean on DB's more."

Goodman gained about six pounds of muscle over the winter months.

"I was a little skinny guy back then," Goodman said. "I'm bigger and I still have my speed now."

While Golden Tate and Michael Floyd will enter the 2009 season as one of the nation's top receiving duos, there is a battle going on for the number three spot between the second-year guys and junior-to-be Duval Kamara and Rob Parris, who will be in his final year of eligibility.

Weis has cautioned the upperclassmen that experience will not play a factor when determining the depth chart.

"The guys that have really got to be concerned are guys like Robby Parris and Duval Kamara who are sitting ahead of those guys," said Weis. "[Goodman and Walker] are waiting for an opportunity to get in the mix. They have a golden opportunity to press those guys, because as you know, we don't care what year somebody is. If they're the best guys, they end up playing."

Sharing a similar experience has made Goodman and Walker good friends.

"We're pretty tight," Walker said. "We talk about the things we learn."

"Me and Deion are really good friends. We went through the grind together for that first season," said Goodman. "We hang out, we talk a lot, we call each other and stuff. It's just a solid relationship."

While their first goal is to crack the top three, the youngsters will not be content with just that.

"I'm trying to get in that top three behind Golden and Mike, maybe even in front" Goodman said. "There's no reason I couldn't, I've just got to keep working hard."

Walker is ready to fight for the number one position.

"I want to be the go-to-guy and that's my job to push whoever is at the position," said Walker. "I'm shooting for the number one spot. If it doesn't work out, if I go hard, I'll take whatever it gets me."


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories