Goodman stepping into familiar shoes

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- There's senior day and there's Senior Day, and perhaps few understand the difference better than John Goodman.

"Absolutely," the receiver said. "Last year I didn't know if I was going to come back or not. Really special that I got the opportunity to come back, and it's going to be really special to come out here with these fifth-year guys and these other seniors. And knowing that this is my last game for sure, it's going to be emotional, it's going to be crazy out there, but the focus is on the game."

Goodman was granted a fifth year at Notre Dame. He set goals. Then he hurt his groin in camp, and an ailing back flared up in the fifth game of the season, sidelining him for the majority of four games.

Now he is healthy -- just in time to replace the guy who took his job, DaVaris Daniels, who himself is sidelined with a broken left clavicle.

Just like he drew it all up, right?

"I came in and there were high expectations," Goodman said. "I felt like that every year, but things didn't work out. When things don't work out you can't get down on yourself. With me I didn't really get down on myself and just stuck with it and led the younger guys, helped out the team as much as I could, because that's what I care about."

Brian Kelly knows numbers are often a measure of success, but he overlooked Goodman's four catches and 77 yards this season when talking about his impact.

"I think he'll look back and say, 'Yeah, I would like to have caught more and made more touchdowns and done all those things,' but he's going to look back on the relationships and the strength that he's provided as a senior in this football program," Kelly said.

Considering Goodman committed following Notre Dame's 3-9 2007 campaign, its worst ever, he can hang his head on what to date has been a perfect finale.

"It's really special to be able to be the beginning of that and to help be the ones that built that," said Goodman, who has two touchdowns this season. "Because when guys look back at that, they take that into account and people remember that. And obviously that's what you want to do. You want to win. You want to win championships. And you want to leave your mark. And I feel like that's what we've done as seniors."