One more NFL player for Lamar!

BJ Goodson with his parents. Photos by Jana E. Pye

BJ Goodson with his parents.
Photos by Jana E. Pye

B.J. Goodson drafted by New York Giants

By Jana E. Pye, Editor,

Lamar, the little Darlington County town celebrated for their legendary professional football legacy has another Silver Fox in the NFL, as B.J. Goodson was drafted to play for the New York Giants.

Goodson and his Clemson Tigers teammates played in the National Championship game this year, and fans have wondered where he would place in the NFL draft.

The humble athlete flew home just for the night in February during the pre-draft workouts because he thought his mother was being honored by the Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce, yetwas surprised to be named the Future Business Leader award winner.
At the banquet, Goodson shared the following:

“I want to thank God for this award. Without him none of this would be possible,”

Family was always first for me growing up; I love you guys. My coaches are all year from Pee Wee going all the way up, I love you guys and I wouldn’t be here without you guys. Being able to represent Darlington County means a lot, I love the community. I like to represent where we come from. In Lamar, all we really have is family and football. And that is one thing I take a lot of pride in. I want to thank the community for this award, thank you. Go Tigers!”

After the event, people crowded around him to take photos, and to see his championship rings; at that time, the National Championship ring had yet to be awarded.

When his former coaches, J.R. Boyd and Shot Windham took his photo, Goodson was overwhelmed.

“These are the guys that coached me,” said Goodson. “I owe it all to y’all.’

A short time ago, a writer named Eric Adelson from Yahoo Sports called the News and Press office, asking how to get in touch with people from Lamar.
“I called the Town Hall to get the mayor, but I can’t get an answer,” said Adelson.

I directed him to Janie Howell, one of the many women in Lamar that I knew that knew everyone in town. I told him that the town was “teensy, teensy tiny” – which ended up in the story.

That story that Adelson wrote about Goodson has been shared around the nation, “The 1-in-10-million-billion town” and for good reason…it states the improbability of such a small town producing so many NFL players.

From the story, Adelson describes a typical morning at the Gay Ann convenience store:

“Another group of men gathers a little further away, at Lamar High. They are beloved and feared, authoritarian guys with military backgrounds, offering stern looks and calloused hands. One is nicknamed “Shot,” another is “Big Daddy,” a third is J.R. Together they have produced an incredible feat: four NFL players from a high school of roughly 300 kids over a span of less than 25 years. Levon Kirkland (Class of 1986) was the first, then John Abraham (’96), then Mike Hamlin (’04), then Marshall McFadden (’05).

Soon there will be a fifth, Clemson linebacker B.J. Goodson (’11), who wowed scouts at the NFL Combine last month with 30 bench press reps at 225 pounds and a 4.69 40-yard dash. He went from off the radar to a possible third-round pick.

How rare is it for five NFL players to come from one town of 1,000 people (989 to be exact) in a span of 25 years? Yahoo Sports asked a handful of experts and mathematicians around the country. One couldn’t come up with an answer. Jeffrey Forrester, associate professor of math at Dickinson College (Pa.), put the chances at approximately 0.0000000000797. Yes, that’s 10 zeros. (Forrester notes the odds of being dealt a royal flush are 0.00000154, or about 20,0000 times more likely.) Dominic Yeo, who is studying math at Oxford, approximated the probability as 1 in “ten million billion.” – Eric Adelson, Yahoo Sports

Recalling years ago when my own son Dylan played football for the Hartsville Recreation Department when he was nine, playing kids from Lamar was an experience. “The boys over here look like they drove themselves,” said another mother as we sat on the bleachers. “Can you check their birth certificates?” she asked the coach.

“They are corn-fed,” said the coach. “Don’t expect this game to last long.”

B.J. Goodson fetched a great deal to play the Giants as their 109th draft pick:: $2.88 million deal / $582,207 bonus.
But the Giants may have gotten the better end of the deal.

Not only does this young man have great football prowess, he has a great heart. And a community that is very, very proud of him.

According to Dan Salomone, staff writer for the N.Y. Giants, the team has five reasons to support their choice of Goodson:

1. Leadership

After two years as a backup, Goodson took the reins as a senior and led the Tigers with 108 tackles (14 tackles for loss) and recorded 5.5 sacks. After earning All-ACC honors in his final season, Goodson was the fifth Clemson defender drafted this year, joining DE Shaq Lawson (first round, Bills), DE Kevin Dodd (second round, Titans), S T.J. Green (second round, Colts) and CB Mackensie Alexander (second round, Vikings).

2. Impressive combine measurements and results:

Height: 6-1
Weight: 242 lbs.
Arm length: 33 ¼”
Hands: 10”
40-yard dash: 4.69 sec.
Bench press: 30 reps*
Vertical jump: 34.5”
Broad jump: 118”
3-cone drill: 7.05 sec.**
20-yard shuttle: 4.51 sec.
*Best at position

3. Undefeated Tiger season

Goodson helped the Tigers to an undefeated regular season in 2015 as they claimed the ACC title before falling in the College Football Playoff national championship game to Alabama.

4. High school prowess

Goodson had 156 tackles as a senior at Lamar High School, including 20 tackles and eight sacks in a state playoff game.

5. NFL Scouting Report: Lance Zierlein

“Team captain and leader on that side of the ball. Surprising production as a one-year starter. Stocky with a muscular build to withstand the rigors inside. Brings a thumper’s mentality to the field. Uses potent punch-and-shed technique full of leverage and power to attack second level blockers. Took it to Notre Dame’s Nick Martin.

Willing to sacrifice body to disrupt blocking and play flow. Plays with base and balance and able to slide under blocks to work into tackles. Has play strength to challenge turn-out blocks and leverage his gap. Rarely cheated as a tackler.”

BJ Goodson with two of his former coaches at the Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce.  From left, J. R. Boyd and on right, Shot Windham.                                Photo by jana e. Pye

BJ Goodson with two of his former coaches at the Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce.
From left, J. R. Boyd and on right, Shot Windham. Photo by jana e. Pye

Author: Duane Childers

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