Ashton Goodson is proud to be following in his brothers’ footsteps.
It’s just that he wants to forge a path of his own.
Though the senior football player has plans to enter the military following his graduation from Granbury High, he’s not following Dillon and Tayler EXACTLY.
“They both went into the Army, and I’m wanting to go into the Navy,” said Goodson with a grin.
His oldest brother, Dillon, has been in the Army five years and is airborne, while Tayler is a year in and serving as military policeman.
Ashton is considering two options, being a nuclear engineer or going into special forces. After he scored a 93 on his mental aptitude test, he said he was told his options are very open.
Which direction he goes could depend on how he heals from a tear of his anterior cruciate ligament in the season opener. His ship date of July 1 has been extended to allow him time to make up his mind – allow the Navy the opportunity to see if he’s healthy enough for special forces if he chooses that.
“It wasn’t so much the pain that hurt when I tore my ACL. I was afraid my career plans could be in jeopardy,” said Goodson.
“I didn’t know if I could still get into a college. I hadn’t applied to the engineering program at (Texas) A&M because I was thinking military.
“But they (the Navy) said they’d work with me, and we’ll see how it develops. God’s got a plan.”
Goodson has now applied to A&M, University of Texas, Oklahoma and Rice, along with considering the Naval Academy.
The Goodson brothers’ love for the military, ironically, does not stem from a history of family connections to the service branches. Neither of their parents served. And while both grandfathers did, one died before the boys were born, and they only saw the other on occasional visits.
“We are very supportive of the military as a family. My brothers love what they do,” he said. “It’s funny, but ever since he was about 4 years old Dillon knew he wanted to be in the Army. Tayler went back and forth, and I really didn’t start making that decision until last year.”
Ashton is in the top 10 percent of his senior class academically. And though he can no longer help the team on the field, he is one of the captains – and their loudest cheerleader.
“In practice, a game, meetings, he’s always there to do what he can,” said Pirate head coach Scotty Pugh. “He definitely understands what the role of a captain is, and that it’s not just what happens on the field.”
In fact, the same night he was injured, it wasn’t long before Goodson was back on the sidelines shouting encouragement.
“When they set me on the bench and told me it was my ACL, I knew right then my football career was over,” he said. “But I knew it would do no good to freak out. When coach (Andy) Rankin (trainer) gave me some crutches, I went to the sidelines and started screaming for my teammates.
“Now that being a captain’s my only job, I know I can’t be out there making plays, but I can still look out for them and help them keep their minds right.”
This was Goodson’s third varsity season. He joined the squad as a sophomore when they reached the bidistrict playoffs for the first time in more than three decades and was on it again last season.
“I’m okay – until it’s Friday. Then it’s really hard to take,” Goodson said.
“But a situation like this teaches you a lot about yourself. Bad things happen, but you can’t just sit around. You’ve got to make something else good happen.
“If you’re not leading, who is?”
Pugh said Goodson has gone from being one of his best players to perhaps the team’s greatest inspiration since his injury. He said his career desires should, in fact, serve as an inspiration to many.
“I promise you it’s a great tribute to that family and a great honor for us to be associated with someone like Ashton who wants to serve his country in the best way he can,” Pugh said.
“He has a plan to go places and what he’s going to do once he gets there.
“It’s nice to know there’s people like him out there. It’s very comforting.”
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