Ohio State’s emphasis along the offensive line in the 2022 recruiting class will be largely focused on tackle bodies. There may not be a more prototypical tackle body in play for the Buckeyes than Charlestown (IN) star Kiyaunta Goodwin. The 6-foot-8, 310-pound prospect is a priority target for Ryan Day, Greg Studrawa, and company.
Goodwin’s offer list has become a national one, but there hasn’t been much movement on his end in terms of creating a short list. That process can hopefully start in the coming weeks.
“I’ve really just been waiting for everything to open up so that I can take visits,” Goodwin explained. “I really want to meet with the coaches person-to-person to get a feel for what they are like and then I can cut down schools from there.”
Instead of getting caught up in the hype around his recruiting process, Goodwin has taken time during this seemingly endless Dead Period to make sure his priorities are in order.
“I’ve really just been trying to take everything day by day,” he continued. “I’ve been concentrating a lot on just getting better and concentrating on school and not getting so caught up with the recruiting process. I’m obviously talking to coaches and stuff like that, but I’ve kind of let the coaches know that I’m not going to be making any decisions until I can see the schools in person.”
On the field, Goodwin put together a strong junior season. The measurables are there for the Top 100 prospect, and the added quickness and strength were on display. But Goodwin is the type of person that is always self-critiquing.
“I think I had a decent season,” he said. “I’d like to do a lot of things better and I’m already looking forward to next season to show improvement in a lot of areas. But I think that I was definitely able to show coaches that I reshaped my body and I’m able to move a lot better as well as being a lot more physical and being able to get to the second level.”
Goodwin’s physical transformation over the past year has been staggering. From a dedicated workout plan, to eating healthier, it has been a total shift not only physically, but mentally.
“I’m 6’8 310-pounds and nine percent body fat,” Goodwin reported. “Last year I was 425-pounds and 29-percent body fat. The biggest thing was getting with my trainer. He’s my legal guardian now and he just helped reshape my mentality. I just started focusing on the things that were really important to me. I definitely changed my diet and cut out the sugars and the snacks and everything. I really had to prioritize what was important to me and I think that was the biggest thing, just changing my mindset and focusing on what I want to accomplish. I don’t want to say it was easy, but once my mindset changed, it became a lot easier.”
Goodwin has continued that transformation already this off-season. He has a regular workout schedule and now that he has dropped his weight, he is able to start the process of building back up and focusing on getting stronger.
“Now that my body is adjusted to being at this weight, I can really focus on getting stronger,” he explained. “I’ve been working really hard in the weight room and on my technique. Last year I had to drop a lot of weight so I had to do a lot of cardio and stuff like that but now I’m able to focus even more on the weight room.”
Ohio State was a big early offer for Goodwin this past fall as he has consistently had praise for the tradition of the program. He is also finding a lot to like about the current staff in Columbus.
“Things are going great with Ohio State,” he explained. “I talk to coach Day and coach Stud all the time. They are making sure that I know that I’m a priority for them and they are doing a great job recruiting me. I just can’t wait until all of this over and I can get down there and really check it out.”
Goodwin has been to Ohio State one time previously but he was in eighth grade at the time and it was as part of a bigger group that included older and, at the time, more heralded prospects like Rondale Moore and Wandale Robinson. So the next time that Goodwin is in Columbus, it will be much more about him and his recruiting process.
“I really just want to spend time with the coaches and vibe with them and the players, too,” Goodwin said. “I’d like to meet with some of the players and see what some of them have to say and their experiences and stuff like that and that will help me to see if I can envision myself being there.”
Goodwin is already friendly with incoming Ohio State freshman offensive lineman Zen Michalski. The two even worked out together this winter before Michalski reported to Columbus in January.
“I’ve known Zen for a little over a year now,” Goodwin recalled. “Obviously we both play tackle and we just started talking about recruiting and then we’d play some of the same teams (in high school) and we’d talk about that. We just became pretty close and we worked out together a little bit before he went up to Ohio State. Zen is a really hard worker and we both want to be great so we kind of push each other.”
Goodwin anticipates getting feedback on the Ohio State experience from Michalski who is just now getting going with winter workouts in Columbus. As for the on-the-field product, Ohio State’s run to the national championship game this season continued to solidify the Buckeyes as a premier program in Goodwin’s mind.
“Ohio State is always one of the best teams in the country and they proved that again this year,” he said. “I know they were really disappointed with the national championship game. They played really good all year and then unfortunately had a bad game in the national championship game. But they proved again that they are one of the best teams in the country and every year they just reload.”
While Ohio State is on the priority list for visits, Goodwin is hoping to get a wide-ranging look at the various schools that are recruiting him if things open up this spring. There are currently no firm timelines in place to make cuts or to come to a decision. Goodwin is taking things one step at a time.
“I definitely just want to take some unofficial visits and then I’ll just see how things go from there,” he added.