“When I visited other schools like Nebraska and Auburn,” Goodman recalled, “I really never felt at home. I don’t know why, but I just didn’t feel like I belong there. All the other schools that I visited talk about being a family, but when I came to Arizona State it really did feel like family and no other school felt like that.”
There was certainly a measure of uneasiness among Sun Devil fans, as one the team’s most heralded pledges was visiting the aforementioned schools, as well as other formidable programs such as Notre Dame and Florida State. Ironically, it was the high stature of those suitors and others, which actually aided the offensive linemen in solidifying his sentiments towards ASU.
“I know ASU has high expectations and I wanted to make my mark there,” Goodman explained. “I didn’t want to go to a school where I’m going to be overshadowed and get pushed to the side. You have a lot of top recruits who go to top programs and once they get there you never hear from them again.
“I didn’t want to be that person.”
It was only natural that Evan Goodman was going to receive some attention from the Sun Devils, during the period of time when Devin Goodman was recruited by the school. Nonetheless, according to ASU’s true freshman he never felt his brother’s recruitment was merely a means to pursue him, and that Devin, who was part of ASU’s 2011 class, was commanding interest from the team’s former coaching staff on his own right.
“The coaches really wanted to focus on Devin,” Goodman remarked, “because he was a (high school) senior. That was OK with me. I told them that I really liked Arizona State and I will keep you guys in mind too. I felt comfortable about all of that, because Devin deserved all the attention he was getting.”
Undoubtedly, while Devin Goodman was being pursued by ASU and ultimately signing with the team, there was no program that Evan Goodman became more familiar with than the Sun Devils. The insight the lineman had on the program through his daily conversations with his brother helped in answering every question that was raised and fully prepared him as to what to expect once he joins the team.
“Hearing what Devin was saying about the coaches and their expectations…I wanted to be part of a school like that,” Goodman said. “I didn’t want to go a school where they would go 6-6 and be satisfied. I wanted to go to a school that competes every year and not slack off. I know these coaches also have high expectations of themselves and they will keep on pushing the players to be successful.”
It would be impossible to overstate the bond that any twin sibling has with each other, and that strong relationship was definitely present among the Goodman brothers. Evan Goodman said that fights between him and Devin rarely occur, and playing together on the offensive line (Evan at left tackle and Devin at left guard), a group where communication is paramount, that their solid rapport naturally enhanced their play.
“A twin bond is so much stronger than just the one brothers that aren’t twins have,” Goodman said. “I repeated 3rd grade so Devin was always a year ahead of me. But it never made a difference since it happened so long ago and we always hung out together anyway. Him being a year ahead of me made it so much easier that I felt it was just meant to be.
“When you get into a new situation, you can feel like you’re bombarded with all kinds of stuff. But when you have someone like Devin who just soaks everything in, he will tell you what to expect and that makes it so much easier.”
An unshakable bond aside, Goodman claimed that his brother, who last August was already on the ASU campus, never pressured him to announce his pledge before the beginning of his senior season at Lakeland High School.
“He said ‘Evan, I don’t want you to commit to ASU if you don’t want to commit,” Goodman said. “Being in Florida I researched Arizona State a lot because you don’t hear about the school over there. I researched everything about the coaches the campus, and it stood apart from the other schools I looked at.
“I don’t know what it was, but there was always something different about ASU that made me like more than the other schools. Maybe it was the people here.”
As one of the most coveted offensive linemen in the Southeastern region, no one could blame Goodman if he would begin to actively pursue other opportunities while the school of his choice was in the midst of a tailspin that ended the 2011 campaign with a five-game losing streak. This is where his deep knowledge of the program came in handy and put aside any concerns he may have had concerning ASU in their proper perspective.
“I knew this team had a lot of talent,” Goodman said," they just didn’t have the discipline. That’s it. That was the obvious thing you saw when you watched their games on TV. Lack of discipline lost them some games. I know this coaching staff won’t let that happen.
“So for me that’s great to know that we won’t lose any games because of lack of discipline.”
It’s no secret that many highly coveted recruits, such as Goodman, wouldn’t necessarily gravitate to programs where discipline and accountability aren’t just clichés but rather the undeniable fabric of the team. The lineman was already accustomed to those traits at Lakeland, one of the most successful prep programs in Florida, and thus was receptive to this new culture being implemented at ASU following the hire of Head Coach Todd Graham and his staff.
“Lakeland is known for being a winning program,” Goodman commented, “and they are also known for being disciplined and being classy 24/7 during home games, away games, around the community…and I always cherished that, having that be your identity and carrying yourself in the right way.
“So I wanted to go to a college that has high standards for a person and one that will instill high character and high morals, through thick and thin. I didn't want to go to a school that says that but doesn’t mean that. ASU was the only school that when I officially visited I found out that this was a school with high class and high standards.
The arrival of the new coaching staff, according to Goodman, didn’t change anything recruiting wise and he described the transition as a rather seamless one.
“I thought my recruiting was done when I took my last official visit and with these new coaches in I didn't know what to expect,” Goodman admitted. “When the new coaches came in Devin called me in Florida and told me how good they all were, and that they had high expectations for all the players to do well this year. Devin told me ‘don’t worry about it, these coaches are cool.’
“So that was good that he had already met the coaches and tell me that everything was going to be all right.”
Goodman vividly recalls the first phone conversation he ever had with Graham, as the new skipper pledged that this year’s ASU team won’t resemble the 2011 Sun Devils.
“He said that this year’s team won’t be jumping all over the field and stuff like that,” Goodman said, “and I was thinking ‘that is good. That’s what I want.’ I don’t want to go out into the community and have people think of me like that. I didn’t want to go to a school where the community thinks the team is a bunch of Hooligans.”
Teams pursuing Goodman knew about his affinity to ASU, despite the coaching hire that took place less than 50 days before National Letter of Intent Day. Nonetheless, Goodman said that some programs try to use the change of regime in Tempe as a point of weakness that would prompt Goodman to renege his commitment to the Sun Devils.
“I went on my visits to make sure that I made the right choice,” Goodman commented. “Ever since my recruitment started everybody was telling me that even though I’m committed, I should go on my official visits to make sure I made the right choice. I showed these schools (that Goodman visited) respect and said that I liked the visit.
“When the ASU coaches were fired those schools were coming even harder at me. But those words they said about ASU made my commitment even stronger, because that shows a lack of character on their behalf. That’s terrible when someone talks down on a program.
“When someone shows that lack of character and talks like that, you know that team isn’t for you.”
The 6-4 290-pound Evan Goodman was nationally ranked 16th by Scout.com among all 2012 offensive tackles. As one of the most coveted offensive linemen in the Southeast region, Goodman drew high praise from Scout.com’s recruiting analyst Mike Bakas.
“Evan Goodman is an excellent high school offensive lineman,” Bakas said. “A lot of players have the size and athleticism to project well but are still a work in progress on the field. Goodman can flat out play. When you watch him play left tackle, he knocks people off the ball in the running game. When he makes contact, there's often an explosion -- a good way of telling how explosive an OL prospect is. Athletically, he's excellent. He runs downfield like a tight end, can change directions very well, and moves his feet about as well as you'll see for someone his size.
“The last two major OL prospects to come out of there ended up first round draft picks (the Pouncey twins). Goodman isn’t far off from them as prospects at the same age.”
The ever humble Goodman knows that despite the numerous accolades he has received, that eventually translated into an offer sheet many prospects would be envy of, that his skill set could use some improvement.
“(ASU’s Offensive Line) Coach Connelly said that I’m a downhill blocker,” Goodman described, “and that I can really help the team run the ball. He likes how I really play aggressive and that’s obviously how you have to play football.
“Stuff I need to work on is my footwork and getting off the line.”
When fall camp commences Goodman will line up at left tackle, a position that is firmly manned by junior Evan Finkenberg. The freshman isn’t opposed to possibly lining up at right tackle, a position that some other heralded high school left tackles may see as less glamorous.
“It doesn’t matter to me at all,” Goodman said. “I want to help the team any way I can. To say I won’t play any position but left tackle would be selfish. I’ll play guard, I’ll play center…but center is where Devin plays. I guess I can’t do that (laughs).”
Prior to his senior year at Lakeland, Goodman reported weight room marks of 330 lbs. benching, 300 on the power clean and 450 lbs. squatting. While he and his Sun Devil teammates have not recorded their max weight room marks for the summer yet, the lineman seemed confident that following the grueling summer strength and conditioning program under Coach Shawn Griswold could improve on those marks.
“I lost 20 lbs. since I got here, so I’m at 295,” Goodman remarked. “We have a no huddle offense so we run a lot. When you workout with Coach Griz you are going to run a lot. Just yesterday we ran 2,500 yards. Sprints, gassers, anything you can think of (laughs).
“My Offensive Line Coach at Lakeland, John Flath, he knows a lot about weight lifting and when he talked to me about Coach Griz he said I better get ready. So I knew I had to get into shape when I got here because we run the no huddle.”
Being on campus for roughly a month, Goodman has now been able to finally experience for himself everything he has learned over the last several months from his twin brother about the ASU program. The lineman described his daily schedule as “fast paced” as he balances schoolwork, film study and workouts.
“It’s good because I like being challenged,” Goodman said. “It brings out the best in you. I want to show everybody that I can stick with it and not fall off.”
The camaraderie among the ASU players that Goodman felt so strongly throughout the recruiting process, is the same atmosphere he is experiencing now first hand, and that has obviously aided the normal acclimation any newcomer goes through.
“You can see it in everybody’s eyes – we are all one big family,” Goodman said. “Every day, in every workout, you see the seniors, the freshmen, everybody working to get that Pac-12 championship. In the weight room and in the (indoor facility) we have a big plaque of the Pac-12 championship right in the middle of the room or the field, because that is our goal.
“I feel part of the team like everyone else. I don’t feel like a freshman because we all do the same workouts. It’s just that the other players have been doing it longer.”
If one were to compile a list of true freshmen who had a realistic chance of playing this season, Evan Goodman’s name would naturally be in that group. Being part of an offensive line that is relatively short on experience, Goodman certainly doesn’t have to contend with a multitude of players who can claim dozens of starts or appearances under their belt.
High accolades lead to high expectations, yet the even keel linemen vows to not let those sentiments turn into pressure to fulfill that anticipation and perhaps affect his performance. Furthermore, he doesn’t think that being a highly sought after prospect should affect his standing with the team.
“The players will treat you the same whether you a high level recruit or not,” Goodman said. “That’s what I wanted because I didn’t want to be separated from everyone else. If that happens you don’t feel like you are connecting with everyone else.
“I don’t feel pressure to start at all. I feel that when my time comes I will be ready. I come every day to work hard, and if coach calls me in I will go in and do well. I’m looking forward to playing in the homes games because I know it can get crazy and we have one of the biggest student sections in college football.”
Date of Birth
“Twin. They called Devin twin too.”
Favorite TV Show
“Two a Days. It was a reality show about the Hoover (Ala.) High School football team. Funny story about that was that Lakeland was suppose to be on that show, but our coach didn’t want to.”
“Remember the Titans. It shows that a team can come through adversity and against all the odds, and still play well and play like a family.”
“Maurkice and Mike Pouncey. They also played at Lakeland (and are also twin brothers who played on the offensive line).”
Favorite Pro Team
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Person you most admire
“My parents. They have been through a lot but even during the hard days they always told us to stay positive.”
First Football Memory
“Watching my older brother, Jonathan, play high school football. I was four or five years old, and I remember him intercepting the ball and my mom was going crazy in the stands.”
One Thing most people don’t know about me
“I’m very humble. You would never know that I had that many scholarship offers.”
Why did you choose ASU?
“Family. When you leave your family all the way from Florida, you want to go somewhere where you feel like a family member. Family is much more than just having Devin on the team.”
Where do you want to be in ten years?
“Playing in the NFL or being a sports trainer.”