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Goodwin Emerges as Potential Coaching Staff Member at Clemson

Wes Goodwin, an off-the-field defensive assistant, has been working at Clemson the last four seasons as the right-hand man to Brent Venables, whose departure to Oklahoma has opened up a staff position.

For the last four seasons, Wes Goodwin has been working behind the scenes on Clemson's defense. That might be about to change. 

Sources confirm multiple reports that the Tigers' senior defensive assistant and Brent Venables' right-hand man is likely to move into an on-the-field role and a member of the coaching staff. Goodwin is highly valued within the program by head coach Dabo Swinney and others. 

Goodwin first served as a graduate assistant with Clemson from 2009-11, working with former assistant Charlie Harbison before Harbison left for Auburn. Goodwin went on to spend three more seasons at Clemson as a defensive analyst before joining the Arizona Cardinals. Goodwin worked under then-head coach Bruce Arians, a friend of Clemson's Dabo Swinney, from 2015-17, helping the Cardinals reach the NFC Championship Game in 2015. 

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Goodwin, a graduate of Mississippi State, came back to Clemson in 2018 to help Venables, who went from defensive coordinator to Oklahoma's head coach this week. With a spot currently open, and possibly more to fill if Venables takes any staff members with him to OU, Goodwin appears to be a replacement, especially if he doesn't join Venables himself. 

Goodwin has been praised inside the program for his ability to analyze and break down opposing offenses. 

There is also some belief inside Clemson's program that Goodwin could even be promoted with a co-defensive coordinator tag, potentially teamed with a current assistant. Swinney has not had to hire a coordinator on that side of the ball since Venables arrived in 2012, and there has been no official announcement on who will head the defense for the Dec. 29 Cheez-It Bowl. 

Per college football's coaching rules, head coaches are allowed to hire 10 full-time assistants for on-the-field coaching and instruction. They are also the ones who can recruit. Most programs, though, have multiple analysts and support-staff members working more in the shadows who aren't allowed on the sidelines or given a headset on gamedays. 

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