Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas is the home of one of the very best defensive players in the country. Tavares Gooden, an outside linebacker and defensive end, was selected first team all-state as a junior by racking up 87 tackles, 12 ½ sacks, and three forced fumbles. The 6-foot-2 and 220 pound standout has an impressive list of scholarship offers with a couple of early leaders.
“Miami, Florida State, Michigan State, Ohio State and Louisiana State have offered,”Gooden said. “Miami and Louisiana State stand out early, but I’m up for grabs. My former teammate Nate Salley thought he was headed for North Carolina, but he ended up at Ohio State instead. That could happen to me.”
This spring Gooden has been busy with track and, he just returned to catch the last week of spring football practice. That hasn’t stopped college coaches from stopping by his school or calling him on the phone.
“Miami and Louisiana State have already been by the school,” Gooden said. “Florida State will probably stop by school next week. Coach Larry Coker of Miami and Coach John Lilly of Florida State have called me on the phone. Coker told me that they would be glad to have me, and that I’m the type of player that will help them win a national championship. Lilly told me that my speed and agility would fit in well with Florida State’s aggressive defensive system.”
Gooden told FlaRecruiting.com what he likes about some of favorite schools.
“Louisiana State is one of my favorites because I believe that I fit in well with their defensive scheme,” Gooden said. “Last year, I went up to their summer football camp. I have liked Miami for a long time. When I was a freshman, one of my teammates gave me a number for Miami’s defensive coordinator. I called his office, and left a message on his machine telling him that I would like a scholarship to play for Miami. I like Florida State because of their team unity. It reminds me of St. Thomas’s unity. I went to the Orange Bowl and saw them play Miami. In pre game drills, a Florida State player would get on the ground and call out a command. The other players would follow and do the same thing. It looked like the army.”
Gooden won’t attend any summer football camps, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be busy.
“This summer, I’m going to be pretending like I’m a freshman in college getting ready for the season,” Gooden said. “I’m going to try and get a lot stronger. My goal is to bench 400 pounds.”