DUDLEY, Mass. — A student from the Florida high school where a gunman killed 17 people has committed to play football for a Massachusetts college because of the bond he formed with two recruiters during the shooting.
Tyler Goodman, a quarterback at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, announced his college choice on Twitter last month and confirmed to WFXT-TV near Boston on Wednesday that he has committed to Nichols College.
The NCAA Division III school in Dudley, about 50 miles west of Boston, wasn’t one of his top choices at first. But during the Feb. 14 shooting, he hid in a room with his high school coach, several teammates and Nichols dean of admissions Paul Brower and assistant football coach St. Clair Ryan.
“Coach Brower and Coach Ryan kind of went into father mode and protected us,” Goodman said.
Everyone in the office survived unscathed, but one of Goodman’s best friends, Joaquin “Guac” Oliver, was killed.
“Being stuck with two recruiting coaches for three hours in such a tragic moment, we kind of formed that bond in a way … like something special,” he said.
A campus visit later sealed the deal.
“When I went to Nichols, it started snowing. I just thought it was a sign from the 17,” Goodman said, referring those killed, including one of his assistant football coaches, Aaron Feis.
Goodman wore No. 1 in high school, but hopes to wear No. 17 in college as a tribute to those who lost their lives.
Nichols is a private school founded in 1815 with about 1,200 students known for its business programs.