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April 18, 2008

Walk-ons Rewarded

On Thursday Pete Carroll significantly changed the lives of two USC student athletes. Fullback Adam Goodman and tight end/snapper Cooper Stephenson were both awarded full scholarships for their contributions to the program this spring.

"Matter of fact today we announced to the team that Adam Goodman and Cooper Stephenson will be going on scholarships in the fall," Carroll said after practice. "Both those kids have done a great job for us.

"Adam has really elevated where he is and is a terrific part of the team. And we won't hesitate to play him at fullback or any special teams situations. Cooper is going to take the snapping duties and he's a utility tight end for us. Both those guys did nice jobs and we're happy to reward them starting in the summer time."

Obviously, the news was very welcome for Goodman and Stephenson.

"I was pretty excited," Goodman said after practice. "It was a dream come true to get a scholarship. It made my day for sure."

Goodman transferred to USC from Saddleback junior college as a walk-on.

"They said that everyone that comes in gets an opportunity to compete and show what they have and they obviously let me do that," Goodman explained. "I just want to come out here and compete my butt off, try to get as good as I can and if they can use me on the field, then that is what I am hoping for."

Leaving Saddleback, Goodman had a scholarship offer from Idaho State and was talking to several other schools before he was injured.

"I had torn my ACL earlier that year and I think that was kind of hindering the recruiting process," he said. "I wanted to come out here and see if I could compete with these guys. I just didn't want to go through my life thinking, 'I could have done that,' so I wanted to try. I came here and it worked out for the best."

He spent last season wearing a brace, but says his knee is fully recovered now.

"Coach Carlisle got me in great shape this off-season coming back from the knee surgery," Goodman said. "My endurance and everything improved and I feel really good."

In Saddleback's spread offense Goodman was used as a hybrid fullback/H-back type, not a fullback.

"This is the first time I really played fullback. I thought I could do it, I have the build to do it so I just came out here and gave it a shot."

Stephenson, the other walk-on that was awarded a scholarsh, filled the void at long snapper left by Will Collins's graduation.

"I am so excited for Cooper," Goodman said. "He has come out here working hard. He was a fullback last spring and now being our snapper, so I am excited for Cooper."

Goodman has the distinction of being the only married man on the team. In fact, the scholarship award can double as his one year wedding anniversary present.

"This will be nice to have, being a married guy and being young and stuff," Goodman said with a smile. "She is working so it will be nice to start pulling my weight a little bit."

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