The story of Elijaah Goins is a special one within the Ohio State football program. The path that Goins took to the field is unlike most other Buckeyes.
Goins is a senior receiver for OSU who has made a powerful impact on special teams so far this season. A kick coverage marvel, he had three tackles alone on kickoffs last week against UNLV, earning the special teams player-of-the-week award from the coaching staff. At one point in the game, he was actually leading the team in tackles. Previously a walk-on, Goins earned a football scholarship at The Ohio State University in August.
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) August 12, 2017
“It felt like a dream honestly,” he said on Wednesday. “It took me literally like a whole minute to take it all in. Like, ‘Wow, I’m getting a scholarship.’”
Goins walked on to the team prior to the 2015 season after watching the national championship win from home and missing that feeling of being on the field. He played safety in high school and ran track and field. Goins began training after the national championship win in preparation for walk-on tryouts that February.
His audition went pretty well because he ended up being one of four students to make the team out of 40-some contenders.
Goins spent his first two years in the Buckeye secondary before moving to receiver this past winter. All of his playing time at Ohio State, however, has come on special teams. The past two seasons he has played the “5” on kickoff coverage. It is a very important position to Urban Meyer because that player has to be fast and fearless.
Follow Elijaah Goins on this kickoff. He is the Buckeye at the bottom. pic.twitter.com/GFyI1G3hyi
— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) September 26, 2017
Looking back on the path he has taken, Elijaah Goins did not think he would make as much of an impact as he has.
“Looking back now, I would never expect to be at this point where I’m at in my career as a football player at Ohio State,” he said.
For his special teams play, he has been praised by Urban Meyer on many accounts.
“He’s extremely gifted as far as speed,” Meyer said. “He’s almost 23 MPH running down the field, and we saw last week that he was at the same position that Tyvis Powell started and that Gareon Conley and Denzel Ward (were also). You gotta be fast as you-know-what to get down the field and do what he does.
“I love those kinds of guys. Universities often invest in things and when we offered him a scholarship and he took it, that was a great investment for Ohio State. What he’s done he’s going to continue to do too.”
Goins appreciated Meyer calling him a good investment by the program.
“Feels like I’m important,” he said. “I play a critical role in this program and I take that with pride and I’m gonna stride with it and do everything I can and what I can for this team.”
While Ohio State has invested in him, Goins also continues investing in himself. When he is not practicing, or working out, or doing school work, he is actually at work.
Goins is currently studying to be a pharmacist and has worked for four years at a local CVS Pharmacy. Because of his scholarship now, however, he only needs to work on Mondays and Tuesdays. But after work on Tuesdays he heads straight to practice.
He is graduating this December and plans on attending pharmacy school.
Elijaah Goins’ path is not the typical path, but he has made it his own.
Just as he does every time he is running down the field on kickoffs.