Versatile Threat

West Virginia's latest football verbal commitment counts versatility as one of his strongest attributes, according to his high school coach.

"The big thing about Ovid is his versatility," Easton Area head coach Steve Shiffert told "Physically, he has the speed to be a tailback, but he also has the frame to be a fullback, if you wanted to go in that direction."

That's only half the story for Goulbourne, who committed to West Virginia over UConn, as well as late efforts from Akron and Ohio. The 6-1, 205-pounder is also a very good defensive prospect, although not many recruiters realized that due to his limited time on that side of the ball prior to his senior season.

"We were a two-platoon team up until this year," Shiffert explained. "But we graduated 28 seniors off last year's team, so we knew we would have to play several players both ways. Ovid was a natural for that.

"We played a 4-3 defense at first, and he played strong safety in that," Shiffert continued. "Later in the season, we played some 4-4, and we moved him up to outside linebacker. What surprised us was how quickly he picked everything up. He came up to hit people, and he learned our schemes very quickly. We do a lot of stunting, but his ability to pick them up and play was excellent."

Goulbourne demonstrated his many skills throughout the season, but perhaps the best demonstration of his abilities came in a state quarterfinal playoff game against the Philadelphia Public League champions. Goulbourne rushed for 140 yards from his tailback position, then switched to fullback when the starter there got hurt. From that spot, he paved the way for 120 yards additional yards rushing by Easton Area, and capped the performance by running down a speedy opposing running back in the open field on defense.

"I think some of the media around here thought he had a down year, because he didn't rush for 2500 yards," Shiffert said. "But I don't know what more he could have done. He ran for 1400 yards, played every down both ways, and played on special teams too.

"He was the catlayst for our team this year, and helped us get to two straight state semi-finals," Shiffert concluded.

Goulbourne had a number of schools interested in him earlier in the recruiting process, but several of those backed away late in the game. Part of that, Shiffert believes, is due to the fact that Goulbourne's highlight tapes from his junior year didn't showcase his versatility, as he didn't play defense until his senior year.

Shiffert believes that Goulbourne could play on either side of the ball in college, but that WVU's spur and bandit positions offer great opportunities for his talented senior to get on the field.

Goulbourne has a solid core GPA, but has run into some bad luck with taking the SATs. Easton Area had a game on the December date for the test, and the January edition in his area was snowed out. He is scheduled to take the test again the first week of February.

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