Clemson made its move for Mario Goodrich near the end of the 2018 recruiting cycle, extending a scholarship offer to the four-star cornerback from Lee’s Summit, Mo., just three weeks before National Signing Day.
Despite entering the race for his services late, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was confident his program would land Goodrich’s signature heading into Wednesday’s signing day.
Of course, Swinney turned out to be right, as Goodrich inked with Clemson over finalists Georgia and LSU.
“Mario, I had a good feel that he was coming,” Swinney said during his post-signing day press conference. “He pretty much told me he was coming. But you just never know.
“But his parents were very up front with me. I think that he just wanted to finish the process however he wanted to finish it, but I was pretty confident in him.”
Goodrich originally committed to Nebraska in May 2017 but re-opened his recruitment when the program’s coaching change was made in December.
After the Tigers offered Goodrich on Jan. 17, defensive coordinator Brent Venables and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed made an in-home visit with him the following week to secure an official visit for Clemson for the final weekend in January.
Clemson hit a home run with Goodrich while he was on campus, and he left highly impressed. Swinney and several assistants then went in-home with Goodrich the Monday after the visit, sealing the deal in the process.
Goodrich made it official Wednesday, becoming the first Clemson signee on record from Missouri.
“To be able to go out to Missouri and get Mario Goodrich just speaks to the reach of our brand,” Swinney said. “Brent and Mike did a great job in identifying him. I really enjoyed my trip out there to his high school, Lee’s Summit West.
“This kid is long. He’s got everything you could possibly want to come in here and play in our secondary. Just great family. High-character, great student, excellent fit for our program. First signee from Missouri ever in our program. So, our program is kind of built from inside out. But to be able to reach out when we need to to fill a need is pretty special. There’s not a lot of programs that can do that, and I just appreciate our guys doing an awesome job of making it easy for me when I get there.”
As Swinney dubbed Goodrich, “Super Mario” possesses superior talent and athleticism. The two-sport standout at Lee’s Summit West High School held five Division I basketball offers to go along with well over a dozen major football offers.
Goodrich, a top-100 prospect nationally per Rivals, will be a cornerback for Clemson but played both defensive back and wide receiver in high school. For his career, Goodrich recorded 140 tackles and 35 passes defensed, including 11 interceptions. He returned five of those interceptions for touchdowns and scored 22 total touchdowns in his career.
“He’s long, he’s physical, he’s an excellent tackler, he’s fast, he’s a big-time athlete,” Swinney said. “He is a super, super athlete. He’s got size potential. He’s just got the explosiveness that you look for.”
Goodrich has only been on Clemson’s campus one time, for the official visit.
But Swinney is sure Goodrich will be a great fit at Clemson for the next three to five years.
“I just think he’s a guy that fits well in our program, and he saw that,” Swinney said. “He was just a pig in mud when he got here. Had never been here. His family had been to several places, but they pretty much I think knew pretty early that man, this is it. This is where we’re supposed to be.
“From a football standpoint, he’s got everything that you could possibly want. He doesn’t really have any limitations, so I’ll be anxious to see how he develops.”