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Canterbury’s James Goodwin is like most talented small-school football players, toiling in relative obscurity but desperately hoping someone notices.
And not just college recruiters.
“It’s tougher to get noticed at a small school for sure,” Goodwin said. “…The bigger schools get noticed because they have more students and more athletes. I understand that, I can see why. But we’d like to get noticed.”
Goodwin is a 5-foot-9, 165-pound shifty, slashing game-breaking running back, and could start for many of the bigger public schools. He averaged more than 11 yards a carry and ran for more than 900 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, splitting carries in a backfield that also includes junior Brent O’Neal (905 yards, 10 touchdowns).
But often, those numbers are dismissed due to lack of depth and competition at the independent level (though now that Canterbury is in a district, B-5, for the first time, perceptions could shift).
It has been mentioned to Goodwin several times how his profile would benefit from playing for a bigger school, and after his sophomore year he considered it. Ultimately, Canterbury’s smaller, more comfortable environment dashed any thoughts of transferring.
“I’ve heard that a lot, actually,” he said. “But I just tell them, ‘I don’t go to Canterbury for football, I go for the education.’ ”
While Goodwin understands why his stats against smaller competition would be dismissed, there are some numbers he hopes won’t be.
In March, he ran a 4.5 in wet conditions at a National Underclassmen Combine in Tampa (Tarpon Springs’ Darius Daniels ran a 4.42 at the same camp).
Some of the players there raved to Goodwin about his time, which tied with Wiregrass Ranch’s Nick Lomba for fourth best at the camp, especially considering he was spinning his wheels at the start.
“They said, ‘I can’t believe he has no form and he’s still running a top 40 time like that,’ ” Goodwin said. “I just need to work on my takeoff.”
He thinks he can run a 4.4, or even something a little better. That, he hopes, would help get attention.
Schools like Elon, which told him they were close to offering, and Marist, Appalachian State and Youngstown State have expressed interest.
Because he was named one of the camp’s top performers in March, he was invited to this weekend’s NUC 100 camp in Atlanta (along with O’Neal and a number of other local players). He hopes it gives him the kind of opportunity that is hard to find in the fall.
NEWSBREAKERS: With USC getting slapped hard by the NCAA and the earth beneath the big conferences shaking, there is plenty to think about for some local recruits.
According to ESPN.com, Armwood’s Matt Jones, the Times’ top-rated prospect in the 2012 class, is unbothered by the Trojans’ penalties. Makes sense, since by the time he gets there USC will be back in good standing for bowl berths.
“People will still go there for football and they run the offense I like, so it doesn’t matter to me,” said Jones, who also has offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Notre Dame.
As for Nebraska shifting conferences from the Big 12 to the Big Ten, Countryside lineman Tyler Moore, whose father and grandfather played for the Cornhuskers, told ESPN: “I grew up watching the NU-OU games, and those games mean a lot to me and my family. But if we played Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State every year, those would be big games, too. It’s going to be exciting for the program, the players and the fans.”
And the news of the Big 12 staying together had to be a relief for anyone headed to Iowa State, like Clearwater’s Jeremiah George and Gibbs’ Jarvis West. For a while there, it appeared the Cyclones could end up on the outside looking in at the shuffled decks.
John C. Cotey can be reached at (813) 406-0530 or firstname.lastname@example.org