Clemson's co-DC living out his 'dream' in win over Iowa State

Clemson's co-DC living out his 'dream' in win over Iowa State


Clemson's co-DC living out his 'dream' in win over Iowa State


ORLANDO, Fla.  — It’s like living a dream.

Growing up, Wes Goodwin aspired to be a Power 5 or NFL coordinator. 

That was at the top of his list.

He got to live out that dream during Clemson’s 20-13 win over Iowa State in the Cheez-It Bowl on Wednesday night.

In the wake of Brent Venables’ departure to Norman, the former defensive analyst stepped into shoes that some thought might be a couple of sizes too big. 

Wednesday’s win and subsequent defensive performance proved that Clemson’s co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach is going to leave his mark and has the support of the locker room to do so.

If you checked your phone after the game, there was a love fest towards Goodwin on social media, coming from inside the confines of the Camping World Stadium locker room.

Xavier Thomas and Ruke Orhorhoro shared videos on Twitter of Goodwin being lifted on the shoulders of his players, living in the moment and celebrating with his guys.

It’s clear that they’ve bought in and it was important for Clemson’s defense to get out to the start under Goodwin that it did.

“It means a lot,” senior cornerback Mario Goodrich, Jr. said postgame. “Like Coach Swinney said, we had two weeks of good preparation when we were at Clemson and here. I just feel like all the guys bought in. They really respect [Coach Goodwin] and Coach Conn. They just want to see the next team do better. Like the seniors. We just…we want to leave it all out there and make a statement for the next team that comes in.”

Just by the glimmer in his eye, you could tell just how important it was for Goodwin to get out to the strong start that he did.

The support he’s received has come from all over. And although it might’ve not been tangible Wednesday night, it showed in the play of his defense.

“It’s been really special, the past four weeks — or however long it’s been — just former players at Clemson, just former players I worked with along the way reaching out,” Goodwin said. “And then, obviously, the buy-in from our players. Man, it’s been tremendous.

“Clemson defense is about players, the players in that locker room. They played great defense long before I’ve been at Clemson. They’ll play great defense well past my time here. So, as long as we continue to recruit at a high level, bring in great talent, great young men of character and develop them from Coach Swinney’s vision of the program and just a total ‘All In’ commitment from those guys, we’ll continue to have great defenses.”

Goodwin was asked to elaborate on his experiences on the recruiting trail thus far and what his message has and will be to prospective prospects.

“It’s gonna be a lot of fun,” he said. “We’re just gonna continue to be aggressive and just create a fun environment, take the fight to the offense. It’s all about players. Obviously, Coach Swinney has a great track record of developing guys. Programs win championships. Programs develop players. It’s all about players. 

“But recruiting, it’s been going well. Just like any other business…it’s all about developing relationships, getting to know people, communicating with them, showing people that you care about them, and if you want to develop that relationship, it takes time, effort and energy. That’s the lifeblood of any program or business, you win with people. Definitely committing all that energy and resources to chase the elite talent and elite young men in the country.”

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