Zaviar Gooden Heats Up

Zaviar Gooden has gotten the attention of most of the teams in the Big 12, and the offers are pouring in. Texas Tech has offered him, but what do are the Red Raiders' chances of landing the talented safety? Come inside to find out.

Zaviar Gooden, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound three-star safety from Pfugerville, Texas, has two new leaders from among his 13 scholarship offers. "I'm still pretty open but right now I like Missouri and Kansas the most," Gooden said.

Although he favors the Tigers and Jayhawks, Texas Tech is still in the mix along with Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Iowa State.

The Red Raiders' roster is full of upperclassmen at the safety position, and Gooden would be a nice addition to the up and coming defensive unit. He counts speed and pass coverage ability as he greatest assets.

"I think I'm just a tough player," he said. "I've got great speed, quickness and agility. I can accelerate and I cover great. I can jam and pressure the wide receiver and am a good tackler. I have great awareness and just go after the ball."

When asked about his weaknesses, he explained, "I need to get a little bigger and be a bit more physical. I want to work on my technique and improve my hip flexibility."

All of his favorites have offered except the Sooners. "If Oklahoma offers they'll definitely be in my top three. I think they are pretty close to offering," he said. "The coaches said they are gonna come over for an in-home visit and they also said that they want me to take an official there.

"I'm not sure exactly when the coaches can come by the house, but I think it's sometime after Thanksgiving," he said. "The Iowa State coaches plan to come by the house too."

Gooden, ranked as the No. 71 safety in the country by, is taking an official visit to Missouri on Dec. 14 and says the Tigers are recruiting him for both defensive back and running back. "I'm being recruited by coach Brian Jones and he's their running backs coach and he wants me to play offense. But their defensive staff wants me to play defense, so I'm not sure which position I would play there. I like playing both offense and defense and don't really have a preference. But if I play running back I want to go to a school that runs the ball.

"I like the whole program at Missouri," he said. "They are a winning team and I like the coaches a lot. They keep up with me every week and are recruiting me the most."

Gooden's first official visit will be on Nov. 30 to Oklahoma State. He also has a trip set up with Iowa State for Dec. 7 and plans to visit Kansas as well. "I like the defense at Kansas a lot," he said. "They are really aggressive and I like how physical they play and the way they use their defensive backs.

"The coaches really turned that program around. They were known as a basketball school and now they are ranked No. 3 in the country for football."

Gooden says he always followed Texas as a child, but admits the Longhorns aren't recruiting him. "It's right here in Austin and everyone is a Longhorns fan," he said. "Plus I really liked when Vince Young was there and when they won the national championship."

With several official visits left to take, Gooden says he doesn't expect to make a decision until January. "I'm gonna be looking at the academics, playing time, environment, coaching staff and just an overall place I feel right at," he said. "I want to feel like family where I go."

Pflugerville High School is 7-3 and in the playoffs. Gooden has rushed for 800 yards with a 9.4-yard per carry average. He has seven touchdowns. Defensively, he has two interceptions and one fumble recovery.

He reports a 3.7 core GPA and an 880 SAT.

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