We said it after just about every practice during last weeks CaliFlorida Bowl, but there wasn't a more impressive player on either side of the ball for the Cali squad than Vista (Calif.) linebacker Travis Goethel. During the week, Goethel told us he was down to two schools but you can now add a third school to the mix and it just happens to be one of the nation's heavyweights.
Goethel, 6-3, 220 pounds had a great week of practice last week and did more to boost his stock than any other player in attendance. The 'backer has very good size but it was his speed that really opened our eyes. Goethel ran stride for stride with wide out Terrence Austin on play and then ran down running back C.J. Gable from behind on other play.
"I had a great time," Goethel said. "Just being out there with the best players in the state was great for me. I thought I played well and showed I belonged with those guys. I wasn't overwhelmed or anything and just went out and played as hard as I could."
Goethel told us during the week that he was down to Washington and Utah and would be making his decision sometime in the week following the game. Things have gotten a little more interesting now.
"USC has called me since the game and they're tripping me in (Jan. 13)," Goethel said. "They haven't offered me but it sounds like they could be doing something like that while I'm on the visit. It's funny, I really had not heard much from USC during the year, even though I camped with them and went to their Junior Day.
"I even told Coach Carroll that and he just told me things can change fast in recruiting and he really wants me to come out and see what they have to offer. They're recruiting me as a defensive end, which I've never played before. I've always been a linebacker but he said they're pretty loaded at linebacker right now and he thinks I have the size to play defensive end for them.
"I'm just going to take the visit and see how things go. The main thing for me is just seeing how comfortable I'll be there and I'm curious about playing time issues as well. I'm not afraid of competition but I want to know how many players they have in front of me right now. It should be a good time and although I like Utah and Washington a lot, if USC offers me, it would be tough to turn them down."
Academically, Goethel has made a lot of strides and recently raised his SAT score from a 770 to an 890. He also has a 2.77 core GPA and is good to go from a qualifying standpoint.