Drew Goodger grew up in suburban Kansas City, about three hours from the University of Nebraska. He has several Cornhuskers fans in his circle.
As a 6-5 tight end and defensive end, Goodger didn’t draw much interest from Nebraska out of Shawnee Mission Northwest High School. He was on his recruiting visit to Northern Illinois in December 2010, the night Jerry Kill told that team he was leaving for Minnesota.
About three weeks later, Kill extended a scholarship offer from the Gophers, and Goodger jumped at it.
“It’s probably the best thing that’s happened to me in my life, looking back on it,” Goodger said.
Goodger had three touchdown grabs as a sophomore in 2012, but he has done most of his work as a run-blocking tight end for the Gophers.
Last year against Nebraska, Goodger became an unlikely hero in offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover’s unique game plan. The Gophers ran a series of misdirection plays, and Goodger found himself wide open for three catches that went 68 combined yards.
Those were among the highlights in Minnesota’s 34-23 win. Goodger said it was fun going back home last winter and talking to the Cornhuskers fans about that game.
Asked if Nebraska will be on the lookout for his No. 83 on Saturday, Goodger said, “Ah, probably not. I’ve got one catch coming into this game, so I think the big focus might be on 88.”
That, of course, was a reference to fellow tight end Maxx Williams, who leads the Gophers with 25 catches for 373 yards and seven touchdowns.