The Kentucky football program just picked up one of its biggest commitments in school history, both figuratively and literally speaking.
Kiyaunta Goodwin verbally committed to Kentucky, choosing the Wildcats over Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson and Michigan State. The elite offensive lineman was surrounded by friends and family when he announced his decision at Aspirations Gym in Louisville.
“It just felt like home,” he told KSR. “I feel like I have a great relationship with the coaches there. I’ve been around them since I was in seventh grade. It just feels like family.”
One of the 50 best football players in America, Goodwin became a 12-year-old recruiting sensation when the offensive tackle received more than a dozen major offers before playing a down of high school football. The first school to extend a scholarship offer was the University of Kentucky. Goodwin’s relationship with associate head coach Vince Marrow played a significant role in his decision.
“I feel like I have a great relationship with him,” said Goodwin. “He’s always recruited me, even when I was heavy, it’s been the same relationship since then. It’s never changed.”
Kentucky remained in constant contact even when Goodwin hit 425 pounds on the scale as a high school sophomore. Just before the start of the pandemic, he began a thorough diet and exercise plan, losing more than 135 pounds over the next nine months. Now 6-foot-8, 300-pounds, the agile giant has lived up to the early hype by developing into one of the most sought after offensive linemen in America.
“Kiyaunta Goodwin can be as good as he wants to be,” said his mentor, Chris Vaughn. “Kiyaunta has an opportunity to be the No. 1 pick in the draft, the best left tackle in the country. His prototype is everything you’re looking for. He’s 6-foot-8. He can bend. He can run, change directions. He’s got huge hands, size 11 hands. He’s gotta better testing numbers — 4.9 40-yard dash, 4.56 shuttle — as a 16-year-old kid then some of the guys going out in the draft. I think he’s got an opportunity to be a top ten pick if he stays the course and can be somebody that can change a program and anchor that line at left tackle.”
Considered either the No. 56 or No. 54 player in America, Goodwin is the highest-ranked player to commit to Mark Stoops’ Cats. With three four-star commitments in less than 24 hours, the Wildcats’ eight-man class of 2022 is now ranked No. 9 in country.