Goode, So Good – University of California Golden Bears Athletics
Calm off the pitch, Cal’s senior outside linebacker makes a lot of noise on it
This feature originally appeared in the Fall 2021 edition of the Cal Sports Quarterly. Cal Athletics’ flagship magazine showcases the best in long-running sports journalism and provides in-depth coverage of the experience of varsity athletes at Berkeley. Printed copies are mailed four times a year to the Bear Backers who donate annually at the Bear Club level (currently $ 600 or more). For more information on how you can receive a print version of the Cal Sports Quarterly at home, email [email protected] or call (510) 642-2427.
There are plenty of images of Cameron Goode celebrating wildly as another opposing quarterback is lying on the floor behind him, the result of another sack. But those emotions on the court are about the only time you’ll see the normally gentle sixth-year outside linebacker Cal flare up on the outside.
When he’s off the field, you’ll be lucky to get more than just a glance and a quick nod from him. You wouldn’t be the only one wondering what makes this guy tick. Even his longtime teammate and roommate Josh drayden is not entirely sure, although it does offer some intriguing possibilities.
“I don’t know what it’s like when he’s on the pitch, but he’s a completely different person,” Drayden said. “It’s like James Bond or John Wick. It’s like Superman after he walks into a phone booth or a werewolf when there’s a full moon.”
Indeed, off the pitch, Goode looks more like Clark Kent than any superhero or movie villain.
“I’ve always been pretty calm off the pitch since I was young,” Goode said. “I always had a little party that I had when I was doing a play. People used to joke about it when I was a kid, but I just feel like it’s a way of expressing myself and myself. have fun. “
In his first five-plus seasons at Cal, Goode certainly had a lot of fun with over 30 loss tackles and 15 quarterback sacks in his career. He even returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
Goode is also proud of his accomplishments off the pitch. His eyes twinkle a little when he remembers the time he gave a graduation speech in fifth grade. Most recently, he was widely praised for a eulogy he delivered at the funeral of a former college coach.
“I surprise people with my public speaking,” Goode said.
It may be its competitiveness that is taking hold.
“I’ve always been a really competitive person,” Goode said. “Every football game there is a lot of one-on-one on the pitch. There are 11 people on either side of the ball. But there is always one person you face in every game, and I always feel like “I have to win this game to help the whole team. I am really competitive that way. “
His competitiveness also made him want to impress his father, James, a college football defensive end in Oklahoma selected in the fifth round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons.
“I always try to be like him,” Goode said. “We used to bang our heads in the daytime because you never want to hear your dad hurting you. You always want to make your dad proud and happy. He’s someone I always try to do. ‘impress. I just wanna make him happy all the time. That motivates me.
It’s his mother, Crystal, to whom he goes through tough times, such as after end-of-season injuries that prematurely ended his 2017 freshman and 2018 sophomore campaigns.
“Cameron and I have a really good relationship,” said Crystal, who shares daily texts with her son to check on each other.
Crystal paid special attention to Cameron after his injuries in 2017 and 2018, visiting him on several occasions. Joined by her mother and Cameron’s sister, she even flew to California from her Houston-area home for the team’s final game of the 2017 season at UCLA and a little surprise the next day.
“We took him to Universal Studios on his little scooter,” Crystal recalls with a quick laugh. “We were just trying to keep him active and get him out of the house. It was a pretty dark time for him.”
“My mom is a lot more emotional and sensitive,” Goode said. “So if I’m feeling down I’ll go see my mom. My dad doesn’t want that. He’s definitely a soft teddy bear, but he doesn’t like to show it. I’m trying to hide that part of it. so am I. We’re generally more stoic. “
It’s not the only trait they share.
“I’m a great listener and I also love watching people, just like my dad,” Goode said. “I might be calm, but I know what’s going on. I’m not just out there in space. I’m always aware and I look around, and I study people. I don’t need to be loud. I’m able to speak in public when I need to, but I don’t need to be the center of attention all the time. “
The NFL scouts, however, understand one particular group that they would like to show more attention to.
“I feel like I’ve always slept, and I’m still sleeping today,” the normally reserved Goode said emphatically.
Screened as an end-of-round pick for the 2021 NFL Draft, Goode decided to return to Cal for a sixth and final college season in 2021.
“For a long time after last season I had decided to go to the NFL and then my family told me not to,” Goode said. “They wanted me to stay in Cal and be a kid as long as possible. I’m honestly happy I made the decision to come back. There was nothing wrong with coming back. to be in the best possible shape that I’ve been in, and I’m delighted to prove that a lot of people are wrong. “
“He knows he has a chance to be really good for a very long time,” said Drayden. “He wants to make the most of it, and every Saturday is just another chance for him to put on a show. He knows where the game can take him and what he can do for himself and his family.”
Goode is also finally starting to talk about such a good game he’s been playing in this last college season.
“I joke with some of my teammates that I feel like the high school kid who graduates but still goes to all the high school parties,” Goode said with a smile.
The 23-year-old even received a few affectionate nicknames from his young teammates – “Big Bro” and his Hawaiian slang equivalent, “Big Uce”. Now in his senior year at Berkeley, he’s been working hard with the first-year outside linebacker coach. Keith Heyward on improving his leadership skills which will pay off down the road.
“Coach Heyward asked me to lead one of our meetings and coach our kids,” Goode said. “It forces me to be a little more vocal. I like to lead by example and I always feel like I have to be on the front line, but if the young people don’t put in enough effort I have I always feel like I have to say something. I still don’t like doing it in front of the group, but I’m going to tell them something one-on-one. “
And they better listen, like he would.