NEW YORK CITY - Two-time Vanderbilt captain and All-Southeastern Conference linebacker Jonathan Goff was selected by the New York Giants in the fifth round of the NFL Draft Sunday.
Goff, a resident of Lynn, Mass., becomes the third Vanderbilt player taken in the draft. Offensive tackle Chris Williams was selected by Chicago with the 14th pick of the first round; Earl Bennett was also picked by the Bears in the third round. It marks the first time in seven years that at least three Commodores have been tabbed in a draft.
Goff finished his Commodore career as the team's leading tackler for the last three years, concluding with 307 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and three interceptions.
Bennett continues the Vanderbilt tradition of producing outstanding linebackers that move on to the NFL level. Goff becomes the eighth Commodore linebacker selected in the NFL Draft since 1988. Another Commodore linebacker that went undrafted, Shelton Quarles, enjoyed a successful pro career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson said Goff has been the model of what he envisions in a Commodore student-athlete.
"Jonathan embodies what a Vanderbilt student-athlete should be, how he should play and how he should conduct himself," Johnson said. Jonathan's teammates know about his work ethic, they know he leads by example.
"Jonathan is a physical, tough-nosed player who works hard to improve every time he takes the field. He's a tremendously productive player on the field. Off the field, Jonathan is just a model student-athlete, a guy that has as just as much pride in his academic achievement. He's a wonderful young man," the head coach added.
The son of a Massachusetts juvenile court official and a product of St. John's Prep near Boston, Goff never lost the team's starting job at middle linebacker after winning the role as a redshirt freshman. He concluded his career with 39 consecutive starts, the team's highest active streak on the team.
After starting the last four games in 2004, Goff blossomed in 2005. Goff's top games as a sophomore came in critical moments on the road: 14 tackles in a victory at Arkansas and nine stops in a season-ending win at Tennessee.
Goff became a defensive captain as a junior, and earned second team All-SEC honors from the league coaches. He finished the season as the team leader with 93 total tackles and 67 solo stops. Goff also contributed six tackles for loss, 2.5 quarterback sacks and two forced fumbles as a junior. His junior campaign included double-digit tackle efforts against Michigan and Alabama.
Last year, Goff responded with his finest year in a Commodore uniform. He topped one of the nation's top statistical defenses with 113 total tackles, and added 6.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, five defensed passes and three sacks. He was named first team All-SEC by the coaches and second team All-SEC by the Associated Press.
Goff also ended his career with the distinction of being the only Commodore to wear the "KD 1" jersey patch in honor to former Vanderbilt football player Kwane Doster, who was killed tragically on Dec. 26, 2004.
Goff completed his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering in December.