Lakeland, Fla., (Lakeland High School) offensive lineman Evan Goodman is being sought by most of the top football programs in the country. This is something he’s worked hard to achieve for most of his life and it can all be traced back to when he was seven or eight years old.
“I started playing football in second grade and only missed two years up to where I am now,” said Goodman. “It took me a while to get used to it because I was new to the game and didn’t know what I was doing, but once I figured everything out, I grew to love the game.”
The young Goodman would continue to sharpen his football skills up through middle school and when it came time to join the Lakeland High program, he would soon realize he had a lot to learn about being part of a team.
“My high school’s quite a bit different than a lot of other high schools in the fact that we’re a very, very hard-working program,” said the Lakeland star. “Once I made that step up to high school, it was a lot different than Pop Warner because there was a lot more responsibility on the individual level. We learned there a lot of things you have to do as an individual to be successful in high school sports.”
That hard work would pay off for him early on in his career.
“I ended up playing in six games my freshman year and I started my sophomore year,” claimed Goodman. “I started feeling like I might have a chance to earn some Division-I offers during my sophomore year when I was going up against some of the top defensive ends who had committed to Louisville, Florida and places like that. I seemed to have a lot of success against them, so I knew if I continued to work hard the sky was the limit.”
He can remember a certain event that would help him elevate his game to the next level both physically and mentally.
“Being able to be successful my sophomore year really built my confidence up quite a bit,” said the four-star prospect. “I remember that first year I had to go up against one of the best defensive ends in the country at the time, B.J. Butler. He plays for Louisville right now and having success against him as a sophomore, when he was a senior, really helped me a lot.”
That’s when the college recruiters started taking a long look at the 6-foot-4, 285-pound tackle and then the first school pulled the trigger last year.
“When that first offer came in, I was kind of expecting it,” said Goodman. “That offer came last summer from Auburn and my head coach kept telling me that their offensive line coach wanted to talk to me. I had a feeling they were going offer me and after I contacted them, they did.”
Plenty of other schools soon followed suit including Notre Dame, Arizona State, Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Miami (FL), Nebraska, Ohio State and UCLA.
With so many quality programs looking to add him to their roster, Goodman feels the pressure it brings every day , but don’t expect that to deter him from being the best he can be.
“I feel like I have to prove something every day,” said the elite lineman. “In the classroom, I have to prove that I’m not just an athlete, but a good student also. On the field, I have to prove to all these coaches that I deserve all the recognition they’re giving me. I know this kind of puts a target on my back also with other players wanting to make a name off me and if they want to try it, they can try it, but….”
One school that continues to build a relationship with the dominant Florida lineman is Notre Dame and the Irish are making such an impression that he’s already scheduled his visit to South Bend to check them out.
“Of course I’m still hearing from Notre Dame and still have a lot of interest in them,” claimed Goodman. “As a matter of fact, I’m going up there for their camp in June.
“The main thing that sticks out to me about Notre Dame right now is the tradition and their coaching staff,” he added. “I also love their academics and there’s something else that caught my attention about them.
“Most schools don’t go to the guidance counselor to ask for a player’s transcripts instead they ask the coaches, but Notre Dame is the only school that went directly to my guidance counselor and asked for my transcripts. That impresses me and tells me that they take academics seriously, so I’m taking them seriously.”
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