Mohawk Standout Inks Letter of Intent With WBC
As a Mohawk athlete, senior Justin Goding has played a role in Piggott High school history. Last week the talented PHS student etched his name in the history of another school, as Goding signed a letter of intent to attend Williams Baptist College as a sprinter on the track team. In fact, Goding was the first sprinter signed to the new program, as they have only been competing in cross country the past several seasons.
During his time as a Mohawk, Goding was a member of the state-qualifier 4x100 relay team, and this past fall he was a key member of the Mohawk football team which made an historic run into the playoffs. He noted following the signing ceremony that his time in the Mohawk football and track program had well-prepared him for the next step.
"I've always been a football guy, and with us football is mixed-in with track and weight lifting and all that, and we do it all together," he offered. "And, I started doing both at a very early age, around the seventh grade, and I just loved it."
During the historic campaign of 2016, Goding carried much of the load offensively for the Tribe. He rushed for 1,040 yards on 148 carries, averaging seven yards a carry. He also scored 11 touchdowns rushing, and added 185 yards in pass receptions with two more touchdowns for 1,225 all purpose yards.
But, at 5-foot and nine inches, and 135 pounds, Goding felt football didn't offer him as much opportunity as the WBC track program.
"I've always like running, and I'm pretty good at it," he explained. "And, I'm a little small for football so I felt I should just go ahead and stick with something I'm good at."
Goding also noted the close proximity to family and the small-school surroundings also led him to consider Williams Baptist. "That had a lot to do with my decision," he concluded.
WBC Head Track/Cross Country Coach Andrew Watson made the trip to Piggott for the ceremony, accompanied by assistant coach Ryan Bontz. He noted the school is not only looking for quality athletes to build their program, but quality individuals as well.
"When you set out to build a program, especially for an athlete at Williams Baptist, you really need to have the complete package," Watson offered. "So, I've gotta have a kid that's really talented with track, they have to be a kid with high character and they have to be a strong student as well."
Watson commented that Goding met the criteria, and he was pleased to have him signed.
"I look for kids that are going to persist, who are going to stay at Williams for four years, and when I talked to Justin about the program I talked to him about how he is starting something special and setting the tone for the future," he added. "But, at the end of the day--most importantly he's going to graduate."
Watson indicated the cross country program has enjoyed early success thanks to this model, and he expects more success as the program goes forward.
"Justin is just what I was looking for (in a student) and I'm very very happy to have Justin," he concluded.
Mohawk Head Football/Track Coach Michael Harrell had the honor of introducing Justin, and the WBC coaches, to those on hand for the ceremony. A WBC grad himself, he noted the success Goding is now enjoying was all the product of hard work on his part.
"Justin Goding has been such a hard worker for us since he came around in the seventh or eighth grade when he started running track," Harrell offered. "And, I'm super proud of him, and the track program. With Williams Baptist starting this track program I think it's really going to open the doors for a lot of our student-athletes to be able to go there and get an education. And get to do what they love."
Harrell also predicted Goding would take full advantage of the opportunity, based on his earlier efforts.
"Justin has such great character, and he's been such a great leader for us in the track program," he added. "He just works so hard, and I'm so proud of the young man he has grown to be."
Coach Harrell also added that he reminded Goding of the legacy he leaves at PHS.
"I told him a little while ago that his legacy is set here at Piggott High School forever--with the accomplishments they've had in both football and track," he surmised. "He's going to go far I think, and I'm proud of him."
Joining Goding for the signing ceremony were his parents, Cherisa and Michael Leggett, along with his sisters, Jeanni Leggett, Jordon Leggett and Jasmine Leggett. Several dozen Mohawk football players and track team members were also in attendance at the ceremony, held in the Mohawk Athletic Complex.