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Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Goodman looking far from California

By Gary Laney

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Tahaan Goodman doesn't need to flee his hometown to find a warm weather spot to play college football.

And there's no need to relocate from home to find a highly-competitive BCS conference.

So why is Goodman, the ESPN 150 safety from Racho Cucamonga, Calif., visiting LSU this weekend and seriously considering making the Tigers his future team?

Simply put, it's the "DBU" reputation of LSU, which has put a long list of defensive backs to the NFL in recent years, most notably Patrick Peterson, one of the West's most notable NFL stars with the Arizona Cardinals.

"Definitely, it plays a big part," he said. "I want to play at the next level and LSU has the reputation for doing that."

Goodman is considering the possibility of joining his friend and fellow ESPN150 member Priest Willis, another Western star from Tempe (Ariz.) Marcos De Niza, in Baton Rouge with the Tigers. Willis, also uncommitted, has LSU on his short list.

The pair are considering other schools, notably UCLA, a much closer option for both.

Tahaan Goodman
LSU is looking to pull a West Coast defensive back two-step with Tahaan Goodman (pictured) and Priest Willis.
"That's kind of how it is," Goodman said of the potential package deal with Willis. "We are looking at going to the same school but at the end of the day, we could still go to two different schools."

Willis visited LSU on Dec. 14 and gave Goodman positive feedback from his visit, which has Goodman anticipating his upcoming trip.

"He said he liked it a lot," Goodman said. "I'm looking forward to it."

Baton Rouge will be Goodman's third official visit, having already made visits to UCLA and Oklahoma, with the one to see the Sooners coming last weekend.

"It was OK," he said. "A nice visit. I learned a lot."

Now he's looking forward to Baton Rouge and LSU is looking forward to trying to accomplish a rarity: A trifecta of West Coast recruits in one recruiting class at LSU.

The Tigers already have a commitment from Los Angeles quarterback Hayden Rettig, who was scheduled to begin his spring semester at LSU this week. Adding the defensive backs -- huge in a year when Louisiana is uncharacteristically short on safeties, in particular -- would be a huge feather in the Tigers' recruiting cap and a testament to reach of the LSU brand, which seemed to take a bit of a hit with the Chick-fil-A Bowl loss to Clemson.

Landing one or both would allow the Tigers to keep the "DBU" brand alive. Willis is versatile, with the size and physicality to play safety and the coverage skills to be a Peterson-like big, fast cornerback. Goodman is a tall, lean safety with the reputation of being a physical tackler with the athleticism to help against the passing game.

They seem like solid candidates to continue LSU's run of top-notch defensive backs. But will they find they feel at home away from the ocean and the desert and near the gulf and the bayou?

Goodman's coming to find out this weekend.

"I'm looking to get down there and seeing what it's all about," he said.