SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

November 9, 2007

Goff having a monster season at Vanderbilt

Jonathan Goff is having an outstanding year for the Vanderbilt University football team.



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."



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