RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. -- Four-star safety Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) walked off the field Friday night following a 31-6 victory against Alta Loma (Calif.) and immediately removed his helmet, revealing a black skull cap with the familiar blue UCLA script logo plastered on the front.
But as reporters approached, the nation’s No. 8-rated safety prospect quickly took off the cap -- sacrificing warmth in fear of misinterpretation -- and smiled. It was a classic "nothing to see here, folks" moment.
Goodman had planned to take an official visit to LSU for the Tigers’ highly anticipated battle against Alabama, but said he would instead reschedule. It pained him to postpone the trip, but being able to attend USC’s crucial game against Pac-12 Conference leader Oregon at the Coliseum was a consolation of sorts.
“Everything didn’t work out with my schedule, so I decided to reschedule to a different game,” Goodman said. “Me and Priest Willis (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos de Niza) are still going to head out to Louisiana, but just on a different weekend. It may be during the season, it may not.”
For Goodman, LSU has appeal because it’s an unknown place. He has grown very familiar with UCLA, but the 6-foot-2 athlete itches to experience new things to ensure he’ll make a well-informed decision when the time is right. Though he has been considered a longtime USC lean, there is no timetable for a commitment.
“I want to know about schools other than just UCLA and USC,” Goodman said. “I want to know more about schools that are far away, some that I haven’t seen yet. That’s why I want to take all of my officials. It looks like I’ll be taking those after the football season is over, but I don’t know. All I have planned is USC, UCLA and LSU for officials. I still have two other open officials, so I’m working to find out which schools I’ll be heading to.”
In addition, Goodman said he has an idea of what he wants to study in college.
“I want to go to a school that will give me the opportunity to do either business or communications,” he said. “I want a good academic school, somewhere I know I’ll like to be at. I want a good climate, too.”
USC has been considered the leader in Goodman’s recruitment but with 18 verbal commitments, the Trojans’ current recruiting class has been filled to capacity since July. Aside from four-star athlete Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) recently downgrading his commitment to a "soft verbal," four-star cornerback Jalen Ramsey (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy) briefly flirting with Florida and four-star cornerback Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) taking three official visits, there hasn’t been much USC activity on the trail.
“Like I’ve said since the beginning, I’ve always wanted to take the recruiting process slow,” Goodman said, smirking. “And that’s what I’m going to do.”
In the meantime, Goodman and fellow ESPN 150 defensive back Hawkins will set their sights on leading Rancho Cucamonga (8-2) on a deep postseason run in the CIF Southern Section Inland Division, where powers Vista Murrieta (10-0), Upland (10-0) and Corona Centennial (9-1) are favored.
“I feel we’re underrated,” Goodman said. “We’re going to go into the playoffs strong, though. Our defense is great. We’ve got players, but there’s just a few things we need to fix.”