Senior John Goodman will return to Notre Dame for a fifth year on the Irish football roster, according to his father. The wide receiver from Ft. Wayne, Ind., has played sparingly in the past three seasons and hopes to expand his role next fall.
“John’s coming back,” said Adam Goodman, John’s father. The older Goodman said he had not personally spoken to any Notre Dame coaches, but his son relayed the message that he would be on campus next fall. Goodman is scheduled to graduate from Notre Dame after completing a light course load at the end of the current semester.
Goodman’s father said John was looking forward to dedicating more of his time and attention to work on the football field than in years past now that he has a smaller class schedule.
“He was hoping for his fifth year and that was the big thing, so the first hurdle is cleared,” the older Goodman said. “The next hurdle is to get on the field and start and have a productive year.”
Goodman was a highly touted in-state prospect when he arrived at Notre Dame in 2008 from Ft. Wayne’s Bishop Dwenger High School. He has spent the majority of his time in an Irish uniform stuck behind All-American Michael Floyd and sophomore TJ Jones on the wide receivers' depth chart. He has appeared in every game during the last two seasons and has made 28 catches for 315 yards and one touchdown during his Notre Dame career.
Goodman saw most of his time on the field in 2011 as the team’s sure-handed punt returner. The senior provided a reliable option on the back end of the punt return unit but lacked the ability to pick up return yards after the catch. In August, head coach Brian Kelly called Goodman “an enigma” because he showed flashes of athleticism and big-play ability but could not put together enough of those plays consistently to make an impact of the offense.
“If he can give us the consistent performance that he is capable of athletically then add him to the list [of playmakers],” Kelly said during fall camp.
With Floyd departing for the NFL and rising senior Theo Riddick likely moving to running back, Goodman could step into a role as an upperclassmen mentor for many of the young receivers the Irish hope to have on their roster next season. Kelly and position coach Tony Alford say Goodman has a good knowledge of the entire offensive scheme and could fit in at any of three regular receiver positions.
Goodman’s solid relationship with newly-appointed offensive coordinator Chuck Martin may also help him compete with Jones and current Notre Dame freshman Davaris Daniels (among others) for a starting spot next year.
“I think John is very excited that Coach Martin’s in charge of the offense,” Goodman’s father said. “They have a good relationship, and I think he’s looking forward to it.”
Goodman is one of 13 Irish seniors who are eligible to return for a fifth year on the team, but the quickly-filling 85 scholarship capacity means the majority of that group will not return. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune Tuesday, defensive lineman Sean Cwynar has already declared he will not be back on the roster next season, opting to put the bachelor’s degree and MBA he has earned in four years to work in the business world.