Love it when a plan comes together
WR Randall Goforth's strategy of quietly working hard to get better is paying off
LOS ANGELES -- College coaches and scouts are seemingly nowhere to be found. Nevertheless, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly's Randall Goforth is training on a field located across the street from the Coliseum, home of the USC Trojans, as if his future at the next level depends on the effort.
His work ethic at the day-long camp hosted by Big Man On Campus, which is spearheaded by former NFL players Keyshawn Johnson and Brian Kelly, is particularly commendable given the glaring fact that Goforth does not necessarily have to impress anyone in attendance.
Goforth is willing to do whatever it takes to improve, regardless of the circumstance. Not surprisingly, the 2012 prospect is one of the West Coast's hottest commodities and his recent commitment to Arizona State, apparently, has done little to slow the whole recruiting process.
"Things are happening fast for me, I'm still talking to a lot of schools,'' said Goforth, who did nothing to tarnish his growing reputation as an emerging receiver by taking home MVP honors for his position at the Nike Football Training Camp earlier this month in Southern California.
Make no mistake, the talent pool at the NFTC was far from thin. Goforth held his own, and then some, despite the presence of several talented athletes. More than a few Watch List 150 wideouts were in action, including Darius Powe (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood), Derrick Woods (Inglewood, Calif./Inglewood) and Richard Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly).
Never intimidated by a peer or his opponent on the other side of the line of scrimmage, Goforth rose to the challenge, similar to the way he did at the Big Man On Campus Camp.
"Randall -- we like to call him Curly -- he's a talented kid,'' said Johnson, an 11-year veteran who was the No.1 pick in the 1996 NFL draft after playing at USC. "He likes to compete. That's what you want to see from kids out here. He's got some potential, no doubt about it.''
Goforth has scholarship offers from several programs, including Nevada. It's also worth mentioning that multiple Pac-10 schools are in the mix for the 5-foot-11, 160-plus-pound pass-catcher. Cal, Oregon State, Washington and UCLA have recently entered the Goforth sweepstakes and appear to be viable options at this point.
"I like Arizona State, but I'm going to continue taking visits and see how things play out,'' said Goforth, who committed to ASU during the first week of April. "This recruiting thing happens once in a lifetime. I'm enjoying things now and want to see where things lead. I guess you could say that I'm open and looking to the future.''
It's not as if Goforth is one of those overnight sensations.
He began making a name for himself as a possession-type receiver during his junior season at Long Beach Poly. When the Jackrabbits needed a first down last year, they looked in his direction. More often than not, he responded and averaged 17.5 yards per catch.
Early indications are he will have an expanded role as a senior.
"Randall is very quick, a slasher who knows how to get himself open. He's a guy you like having on your side,'' said Long Beach Poly coach Raul Lara. "He works hard, he's not one of those guys you have to tell what to do all of the time. Randall has a bright future ahead of him. I think he has the ability to make an immediate impact once he ends up on the college stage.''
Perhaps Lara is onto something here.
Considering Goforth's recent accomplishments at the Big Man On Campus Camp and the NFTC, along with his unwavering desire to take his game to the next level, all signs point to him being fully capable of maintaining his status as a player to keep an eye on moving forward.
"It doesn't matter where I'm at and it doesn't matter who is watching me, either," he said. "My main goal is to go out there and put in some work. This is the beginning of my career. I know if I can stay focused on the football field, things will be fine for me off the field.''
Fair enough. The plan, after all, has worked out well for him thus far.
Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com.