Nashville, Tenn. - Jonathan Goff, the leading tackler and defensive co-captain for the Vanderbilt Commodores, will return for his redshirt senior season next year, Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson said.
Goff, named as a second team All-Southeastern Conference linebacker by the league coaches in December, informed the Vanderbilt head coach Friday afternoon by telephone. Goff is out of town, and not expected back in Nashville until Jan. 10, the start of Vanderbilt's spring semester.
Goff, a 6-4, 240-pound two-year starter, made the decision after receiving a preliminary evaluation of his 2007 NFL Draft projected status. Two years ago, Commodore quarterback Jay Cutler learned his probable draft status, came back for a banner senior campaign, and was selected by the Denver Broncos with the 11th overall NFL pick last April.
Johnson was delighted with Goff's announcement and looks forward to having one of the team's top performers and leaders back for a fourth season.
"Jonathan and I just got off the phone. Jonathan said he was looking forward to coming back and help our team get better," Johnson said. "Jonathan said it was his best interests to come back, continue to work hard, and keep improving.
"From our point of view, Jonathan has the potential to become a great football player. On the field, he gives you everything he has, is an exceptional worker who wants to get better, and is a great teammate. Away from the football field, he is just an outstanding young man. We are delighted to welcome Jonathan back for his final year," Johnson added.
Goff, from Lynn, Mass., finished the season by leading all Commodores with a career-high 93 total tackles, eighth most in the SEC. He also contributed 67 solo tackles, sixth most in the conference. Goff also ranked among the team leaders with 2.5 quarterback sacks, six tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles.
Goff opened the 2006 season in superb fashion. In the opener at Michigan, Goff set career highs with 12 solo tackles and 14 total tackles while adding a blocked field goal in Vanderbilt's 27-7 loss. He followed that performance with 13 tackles and two forced fumbles in a narrow loss at Alabama.
Nominated for SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors on three occasions, Goff contributed at least five total tackles in 11 of Vanderbilt's 12 games. A member of the team's eight-player Leadership Council, Goff earned postseason Most Valuable Linebacker honors from his teammates.
Goff is one of eight Commodore defensive starters from last year expected to return next season.