This is the second edition of a 26-part recruiting series on Go Joe Bruin, breaking down each of UCLA’s new football signees one-by-one. Yesterday I kicked it off by publishing the inaugural profile which highlighted the Bruins’ top-ranked recruit in 2013, 4-star cornerback Priest Willis.
Today I continue with Willis’ close friend and fellow 4-star defensive back—Tahaan Goodman.
I can’t express to you how excited I am for Goodman to suit up in the True Blue and Gold. This kid is going to be an absolute monster for the Bruins, and that’s just what the doctor ordered in UCLA’s secondary.
Goodman has the make of a prototypical safety with the speed of a 4.50 40-yard dash and the size of a 6’3″ frame, but he plays with the grit of an inside linebacker. The U.S. Army All-American from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. has the quickness and athleticism to keep up in coverage, with the physicality and tenacity to mix it up against the run.
Goodman is also a cerebral player, possessing a high football IQ and the instincts necessary to command the defensive backfield. And to sweeten the pot, consider the fact that Goodman weighs in at a somewhat slender 195 pounds, which leaves plenty of room to pile on additional mass. After working with strength coach Sal Alosi, Goodman has the potential to develop into one of the best safeties in the Pac-12.
With the graduation of senior safety and team captain Andrew Abbott this year, UCLA will be left with a rather large vacancy in the defense. And while returning Bruins like Randall Goforth, Tevin McDonald and Dietrich Riley will all be vying for time, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Goodman sees action right away. All things considered, it (tentatively) appears that UCLA’s core deficiency in 2012 could be a team strength in 2013, as the Bruins’ secondary looks to be in good shape.
If there is one concern with Goodman’s mastery of the game to this point, it’s undoubtedly his buttery fingers.
Watch just a minute of this video and you’ll see what I mean. Goodman seems to have serious difficulty hanging onto the pigskin, which would explain why he’s playing on the defensive side of the ball. It’s not fair to base this claim off of one video with two dropped balls, so that’s why I’m not doing that.
According to the ESPN Insider scouting report, Goodman has had consistent problems with his hands, citing that he has “a lot of pass breakups that could be interceptions.” Goodman is exceptionally gifted at attacking the ball at its high point, but his inability to capitalize has been hindering his productivity. Think about how good he is now, and then consider what he could do with a soft set of hands.
But bobbled balls notwithstanding, Goodman is an electrifying prospect that should have the Bruin faithful on the edge of their collective seat. Goodman is going to push his elder teammates to the brink once he gets on campus in the Fall, and there’s nothing better for a football team than competition.
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