The 6-foot-4, 235-pound linebacker from Lynn, who starred at St. John's Prep, is the leading tackler for the Commodores with 74 (41 solo) with three games remaining in the regular season and is rankeda among the top 10 tacklers in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
Goff also has four tackles for losses totalling minus-11 yards, three sacks for minus-10 yards, two interceptions, four pass breakups and five quarterback pressures or hits.
Goff and the rest of his teammates are hoping to pick up their sixth victory of the season against Kentucky this weekend and hoping to get a bowl bid for the first time since 1982.
"Jonathan is a first class individual; a great young man," said Vanderbilt linebacker coach Warren Belin. "I give a lot of credit to his Mom (Gwen Tyre) for raising a quality young man. He is one of those players you truly enjoy having around your football program; a quiet leader. He doesn't say an awful lot, but leads by example. He is very coachable and goes about his business every day. And he is also a very hard worker."
By Belin's own calculations, Goff has 80 tackles (not an official NCAA stat). After a slow start this year, he has really come into his own.
"He was trying to make sure everything was perfect before I told him 'Relax and have fun'," said Belin. "Jon's just a great kid; one of the best players I have coached in my 17 years - and I've had three go on to the NFL.
"If the Good Lord is willing, Jon has a chance to play on Sundays."
Getting to that next level is something Goff and his coaches aren't thinking about right now, however. They're concentrating on getting Win No. 6 to be bowl-eligible and hope to add more before the season ends to increase their chances.
"We don't talk about that next level, but (NFL) scouts are interested," said Belin. "I meet with the linebackers once a week, but Jon never says a word about it. I'm here for him if he wants to talk. Once the season ends I know he'll be thinking about it more.
"We've been working on areas he needs to improve, but right now the staff and players are concentrating on taking that next step. It would be huge for us to be in a bowl game; things will take care of themselves about next year."
Belin remarked that Goff is in terrific shape, having worked hard with the team's strength coaches and training staff to achieve this.
"I want to play football for as long as I possibly can," said Goff, who points to the Commodores' game against Georgia, in which he equaled a career high with 14 tackles (including 12 solo) as his best of the season.
"At the same time, I know that in order to put myself in the best position to do that, I need to play well now. So there's really no point in focusing on anything except finishing my season strong and doing everything I can to help my teammates win."
Williams College is hosting Amherst this weekend in the 122nd meeting of the Biggest Little Game in America, and ESPN's College Game Day show will make its first appearance at the Division 3 game. The show kicks off at 10 a.m. live from Weston Field.
Williams head coach Mike Whalen welcomes the opportunity to showcase Division 3 football and the NESCAC with one of the best rivalries in college football.
Lee Corso, the only original member of the College Game Day crew, is famous for making predictions about the outcome while wearing the head of the mascot of the team he picks. NESN is televising the game with Tom Caron doing the play-by-play.
Former St. John's Prep players Trevor Powers, Andrew DeSalvo and Tim Kiely play for the host Ephs.
The Salem High freshmen football team had its amazing shutout streak ended last Friday afternoon after starting the year with seven straight shutouts. But they are still unbeaten, thanks to a 15-14 victory over Lynn Classical.
Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at email@example.com.