Oct. 18, 2012
By: Reilly Bench
John Goodman can finally see it all coming together for a University of Notre Dame team hoping that the magical run it has enjoyed thus far in 2012 has a storybook ending.
Goodman has emerged during his career as a steady and effective offensive weapon as well as an all-purpose threat for the Irish. The 6-3, 215-pound wide has been an integral part of an Irish offense, most notably against No. 10 Michigan State on Sept. 15.
Goodman made one of the more spectacular catches in recent Notre Dame history.
With the game scoreless early in the fourth quarter, and Irish quarterback Everett Golson rolling out of the pocket after the initial play broke down, Goodman streaked toward the back of the end zone. Golson fired a throw up in the air toward the tightly covered, and soon-to-be-interfered-with, wideout. Goodman, somehow, hauled in the pass with one arm - as the other was being pinned against his body by the Spartan defender.
Notre Dame took a 7-0 lead and never looked back en route to a convincing 20-3 victory.
Goodman has been part of an evolution within the Notre Dame program since he arrived on campus in the summer of 2008. He has a strong appreciation for the unique bond with his teammates and believes that the level of fellowship on this year's squad has been the difference maker in 2012.
"Everyone on this team has bought in to what Coach (Brian) Kelly is teaching us," Goodman says. "The level of camaraderie is like nothing we have had before. We're confident as a team and understanding the importance of playing together."
Goodman has certainly seen a variety of changes within the program during his time here at Notre Dame. The Fort Wayne, Ind., native was recruited out of Bishop Dwenger High School by former head coach Charlie Weis. Coming to play for the Irish was an easy sell for Goodman, who grew up following and loving the school's fabled football program.
"Actually, I was a fan my whole life," Goodman says. "I actually passed up all the other offers I got and took this [offer] right away when it was made."
Goodman was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas as a senior. He was rated the third-best player in the state of Indiana, one spot behind current teammate Braxston Cave. As a senior in high school, he moved to quarterback and guided his team to the number-one ranking before falling in the state semifinals.
During his stint at quarterback, Goodman completed 95 passes for 1,697 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also rushed for 535 yards on 98 carries. An all-purpose threat, Goodman registered seven receptions for 199 yards, returned eight kickoffs for 191 yards and 22 more punts for 309 yards. On the defensive side of the ball that season, he had 28 tackles and collected two interceptions.
After sitting out as a freshman (2008), Goodman played in nine games and made one start in 2009. He had six catches for 104 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown grab against Washington State, and also returned five punts for 56 yards. Following that season, Goodman and his teammates went through a coaching change.
"Switching coaches is always a tough transition," Goodman says. "Coach Kelly and Coach Weis are two totally different coaches and I love them both. I've really appreciated what Coach Kelly has done for our program; he really has a total understanding of what we need as student-athletes."
Goodman also has appreciation for the rigors he has endured on the field as well as in the classroom. Given Notre Dame's tough academic expectations, that's important for a student-athlete to understand. In May 2012, Goodman graduated from the Mendoza College of Business with a degree in management consulting. This fall, he's enrolled in graduate school. Balancing the demands of school and the grind of football has had its challenges.
"It's really just a mindset," Goodman says. "You just have to have a positive approach to everything and a good frame of mind."
Goodman's value as a player rarely goes unnoticed by his coaches and teammates. As Brian Kelly has remarked on several occasions, Goodman has developed into a go-to guy for the Irish.
Following the 2012 campaign, Goodman is hoping to delay the business world and have the opportunity to play in the National Football League.
But for now, Goodman couldn't be more content with his role. As one of a handful of veterans on the team, he takes great pride in mentoring the next generation of Notre Dame receivers.
"Over the summer I tried to work with all those guys as much as possible," Goodman says. "This year's freshman class is really a great one, and I think they have a lot of potential, especially the receivers. These younger guys are only going to get better and they're going to do some big things for us in the next few years. In a couple of years when I am watching them, it will be fun to say that I worked with them and helped them get their start."
Until then, Irish fans can expect Goodman to continue to make signature plays that have become part of his trademark each and every Saturday.