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Goldwire a Quiet Star at Wofford
Effingham Co.’s Goldwire quietly starring at Wofford, which plays Georgia Southern this weekend.
Seth Goldwire smiles at the question out of politeness. The Wofford linebacker finds no humor in being the best college football player from the Coastal Empire no one knows about. He seems to resent it even.
“You want people to know about you, you have to go out there and do some things to make them look at you,” Goldwire says. “If they still don’t notice you, that’s their problem.”
Truth is, it is Goldwire’s problem, too. Always has been. He’s an anonymous star at Wofford College because he was an anonymous star at Effingham County High School.
Better known as a shot-putter than a football player beyond the county lines, the major colleges never bothered to recruit him. And most Effinghamers knew Goldwire more as the principal’s kid - his father at South Effingham, his mother at the county’s alternative school - or the cousin of Georgia Southern football player Lynon Jefferson.
Even now, as an All-American candidate and a frontrunner for Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Goldwire remains an afterthought among local football fans. They talk about Windsor Forest’s Eron Riley, a star wide receiver at Duke. And Calvary Day’s Demarcus Dobbs, a starting defensive end at Georgia. And Groves’ Tony Clark, a linebacker and kick returner at Georgia Tech.
But not Goldwire. He will likely make 10 or more tackles Saturday night against Georgia Southern. But unless the public address announcer points out his local roots, his name won’t register with fans beyond “Why does the name Goldwire sound so familiar?”
“Seth’s not a real big kid or a real loud kid, and some people doubted his ability, so he’s always been easy to overlook,” says former Effingham football coach Keith Manus. “Those people have been missing out.”
Diamond in the rough
Manus tried to clue folks in on Goldwire.
He knew Goldwire was a “tweener” - too small at 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds to attract interest as an inside linebacker and not agile enough to play outside linebacker or safety.
But he sent out Goldwire’s highlight tapes anyway, and one landed on then Wofford running backs coach Freddie Brown’s desk. The Terriers employ a four-linebacker scheme, and the inside linebackers must be tough, smart and able to run sideline to sideline.
Intelligence and attitude matter more than size, particularly if a player like Goldwire can be paired with a more traditional middle linebacker. Someone like James Mitchell, a 6-foot-3, 240-pounder, who plays next to Goldwire, now 215 pounds, this season.
Wofford’s coaches called Manus about Goldwire days after getting the tape.
“He’s exactly what we’re looking for,” Brown told Manus.
“They liked his instincts and like his toughness,” Manus says now. “He fit right into their scheme.”
Goldwire committed to the Terriers within a week. He picked Wofford over Bucknell, the only other football playing school to offer him a scholarship, and Georgia Southern, which wanted him as a walk-on.
“When Wofford came around with a scholarship, I knew where I wanted to be,” Goldwire says.
On the radar
Goldwire is well known these days, at least in the South Carolina Upstate.
Goldwire cemented his stardom in Wofford’s upset of Appalachian State last September. The Mountaineers were Division I-AA’s two-time defending champions, had knocked off Michigan earlier in the month and were receiving votes in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Wofford stunned Appalachian, 42-31, with Goldwire shadowing quarterback Armanti Edwards. Goldwire made 11 tackles and helped limit Edwards to 37 yards rushing.
The game even earned Goldwire notice back home.
“The App game got our name out there,” he says. “People in Effingham still know more about Georgia and Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech, but they know one of their own plays at Wofford.”
He nearly captured greater attention last weekend. He added to his Southern Conference tackles lead with 10 stops in Wofford’s near upset of South Carolina. The Terriers led 16-13 in the fourth quarter before the Gamecocks scored a touchdown with two minutes to go.
As for his future, Goldwire is on track to complete his economics degree this school year. But Wofford defensive coordinator Nate Woody compares Goldwire’s toughness and explosiveness to former Appalachian State Dexter Coakley, who was an inch shorter and just 10 pounds heavier than Goldwire yet played a decade in the NFL.
“If you can get 10 other guys to play like” Goldwire, Woody told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, “you’ve got something special.”
And it’s time we recognized it around here.
The best local player you’ve never heard of
Adam Van Brimmer, The Savannah Morning News
Photo Credit: The Savannah Morning News