FLORENCE, S.C. - It's hard to imagine Malliciah Goodman flying under the radar anywhere he goes.
With a 6-foot-4, 260-pound frame, the biggest hands on a prep defensive lineman possibly ever, and 4.55-second forty-yard dash speed, you would think everyone would've been after him long before now. But early in the recruiting process, he went virtually unnoticed until Rivals.com stopped by his school.
"That tells you, if you wouldn't have come in and got the tapes and saw how good he was," West Florence head coach Trey Woodberry remembered. "He might have slipped through the cracks. That's the bad thing about schools that traditionally are not powerhouses. This is the second year in a row we've made the playoffs and had a winning record. I think that shows how important some of these recruiting services are."
The rest was history. The powerful edge-rusher cranked in his first offer days later, his second the day after and more throughout the spring.
Not too long thereafter the Palmetto State product committed to Clemson. He went on to become the top-ranked recruit in the state of South Carolina by Rivals.com, and was chosen for one of the highest honors for a high school football player, selected to the U.S. Army All-American Game.
Thursday morning at his high school, Goodman put on his all-star jersey during a ceremony in his honor.
"I'd like to thank everyone who supported me," Gooman said. "I'd like to thank the U.S. Army, my teammates, my coaches and everybody who believed in me."
As a junior, the four-star prospect racked up 69 tackles and 6.5 sacks after a sophomore campaign of 56 tackles and four sacks.
"Since the scholarships and the U.S. Army Bowl, some kids might not play as hard because they have everything made," his coach shared. "Not Malliciah, his confidence level went through the roof and he's gotten so much better. He only played eight plays last week and had three sacks."
Despite a shoulder sprain and a finger injury that has kept him in and out of the lineup, the nation's No. 34 overall recruit has recorded 14.5 sacks as a senior.
"Hard work got me where I am now," he added.
The big-time event gets a super defender but an even better individual.
"Tremendous kid," Woodberry noted. "He's a boy scout, almost an Eagle scout. He's on all kinds of boards and groups. With the gang activity, the drug activity and alcohol activity, he's trying to stop that in our school."
"He's also in our Knight reader that we do as a football team," the head coach continued. "We take the players to elementary schools and have them read to the kids. Just a wonderful, wonderful kid. You don't have to worry about him."
Only opposing blockers will have that burden come January 3, 2009 when the U.S. Army All-American game kicks off at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, Texas.