For most of Kenneth Goins’ senior season, it appeared that his college choice would come down to Syracuse or Tulane. The Gilman running back and defensive end seemed fine with those options, but also held out hope that his hometown school would come calling.
Two weeks ago, Goins got his wish when Maryland offered him a scholarship. On Monday, the three-star prospect committed to the Terps.
“It was slow, but it came along,” Goins said of his recruitment. “I just tried to be patient with everything. I’m glad it finally came along. … It feels good. It’s been a great experience this whole time. It feels very good to have a school.”
Goins, the No. 21 senior prospect in Maryland and the No. 52 running back nationally according to 247Sports.com, said the Terps’ courtship of him was a whirlwind process that started with Ralph Friedgen, faded during the start of Randy Edsall’s tenure in College Park, and picked up in a hurry this month. Edsall attended a handful of Gilman games this fall, and the first-year coach, along with running backs coach Andre Powell, made it clear to Goins that he was a top priority.
A 2010 Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro selection as a defensive end, Goins was recruited by most schools for that position. The 5-foot-9, 215-pound prospect was a terror on the Greyhounds’ defensive line, recording 15 sacks and three forced fumbles this fall. But he was also a punishing blocker and devastatingly effective short-yardage back. Goins rushed for 290 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and 11 touchdowns this season.
“They love that he’s just a football player,” said Gilman assistant coach Henry Russell. “They just love his toughness and the type of kid he is, the work ethic he has. I think that’s exactly the type of player Coach Edsall is trying to bring to Maryland. Kenny is the kind of back that you give him the ball 25 times a game, he’s going to run for 150 yards and a couple touchdowns.”
Following Goins' lead, Gilman star Cyrus Jones rushed for 946 yards, and junior quarterback Shane Cockerille gained 1,053 yards on the ground. Powell told Russell that the Maryland staff wants Goins to compete for playing time as a true freshman. Physically, there’s not a doubt in Russell’s mind that Goins will be up for that task.
“He’s relentless and plays with such passion,” Russell said. “He’s a powerful runner who has got good speed. He ran a 4.5 at the Penn State camp this summer. So you know he’s got speed and is big and strong.”
Goins, who has visited College Park “two or three times” already, said he would prefer to play as a true freshman, but he’ll do whatever the coaches ask of him. He has followed the Terps closely throughout their 2-10 season, but the disappointing start to the Edsall era didn’t trouble him a bit. He’s looking forward to helping Maryland turn things around.
“I know right now they’re trying to build a team,” Goins said. “It’s going to take time. It’s not going to come overnight. I want to be a part of that success.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun