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March 8, 2005

He's one of a kind

KLEIN, Texas - Normally around lunch time at every high school across the country, the last thing on the mind of a typical high school junior is a grueling 60-minute workout. But Klein (Texas) Collins running back Michael Goodson is anything but your typical high school junior. He's also anything but your typical running back.

Coming off a basketball season that would have tested anybody's endurance, Goodson was found Friday around noon in the Collins' weight room working out with his teammates, his shirt already soaked through with sweat.

"He's still in basketball shape," Collins coach Ronny Feldman said loudly over the grunts and yells of his players working out in a regimen fit for the Marines. "But you can tell by watching him that he's something special."

Feldman's right.

Goodson, who some college coaches consider the top player in Houston in the class of 2006, could have easily been taking it easy or slacking off because he was just coming off a very long basketball season that was preceded by a very long football season. But here he was pushing himself while doing crunches with a 45-pound plate strapped to his chest, which he followed up with four other stations in the weight room.

That dedication and strong work ethic are two of the things that truly make Goodson stand out above the others. He is definitely looked up to by his teammates, which was extremely evident last Friday in the weight room. While Goodson wasn't as vocal as some of his other teammates, it was obvious that how hard he worked, his teammates would match him.

"He's genuinely a good kid, and you're not going to find anybody that works harder than him," Feldman said.

"He's a great leader and is focused on doing all of the little things that it takes to be a success both on and off the field. He goes straight from football, right into basketball, right into training for us and spring football and then into track. He's one heck of a point guard in basketball, and he's also run 10.3 100-meters in track."

But it's his ability to carry the football that has all of Houston buzzing. When it comes to recruiting, Texas A&M was the first to offer a scholarship early in the recruiting process. That was quickly followed by offers from LSU and Texas Tech. Texas is apparently on the verge of offering and Goodson said that an offer from UT might be tough to pass up.

"There can't be a better all-around running back in the nation," Feldman said.

"He can do it all. He's great as a punt-returner, a kickoff-returner, and he can catch. He's got great hands, and we all know that he can carry the football and do great things there. He's the whole package."

That total package racked up 22 touchdowns as a junior in a number of different ways.

With his 6-foot, 205-pound frame that resembles a sprinter with long muscular arms, he had 1,061 yards rushing, averaged 11.2 yards and had 13 scores on the ground. He had 279 yards receiving, a 25.3 yard average and scored twice that way. And Goodson was simply couldn't be caught on kickoffs and punts as he averaged 31.4 yards a punt return and 30.5 average on kickoff returns.

"We couldn't figure out why people kept kicking to him," Feldman joked.

"Finally they would try to punch it past him or kick away from him, but that didn't work. He's just so talented in the open field that it didn't matter what you tried to do. He always found a way to beat people."

It's that flexibility and ability to cause damage in so many different ways that some college scouts are comparing him to a Reggie Bush -type player. Others have associated his running style to Adrian Peterson or even Eric Dickerson. On film, Goodson does have that similar long stride and effortless running style. While Feldman doesn't like to compare Goodson to anybody, he said can see why scouts are saying that.

"I don't know if you can compare him to anybody because he's his own type of player," Feldman said. "He can play in so many different places. He does have that ability to split out in the slot and create match-up problems in the passing game like a Reggie Bush.

"But we like to think of him as one of a kind around here. He's not your typical kid, and there is nobody better in the nation."


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