BOSTON — Wednesday marks three weeks since the Florida school shooting that ended the lives of 17 people and changed the trajectory for hundreds more, including a star football player.
Tyler Goodman is a quarterback at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Goodman recently committed to playing football for Nichols College in Dudley this fall.
Goodman was in his coach's office meeting with two recruiters from Nichols when the massacre happened.
"Coach [Paul] Brower and Coach [St. Clair] Ryan kind of went into father mode and protected us," Goodman told Boston 25 News.
Prior to the mass shooting, Nichols wasn't even one of Goodman's top three choices for college, but that all changed in the days after the tragedy.
"Being stuck with two recruiting coaches for three hours in such a tragic moment, we kind of formed a bond, like something special," Goodman said.
A visit to Nichols after the massacre sealed the deal.
"When I went to Nichols, it started snowing. I just thought it was a sign from the 17," Goodman said.
"The 17" refers to Goodman's classmates and teachers who were killed in the attack, including his assistant football coach Aaron Feis.
"He was kind of like a big brother and a dad. We got along like brothers, but he was also like a father," Goodman said.
Goodman also lost a close friend, Joaquin Oliver, who went by the nickname 'Guac.' He had known him since first grade, when he moved to South Florida from Atlanta.
"When I first moved down here, he was one of the first kids I was introduced to. Hearing that he passed away brought me to my knees," Goodman said.
Goodman is hoping to wear number 17 at Nichols to honor the victims, who he said will drive him in a way he's never been driven before.
"My goal now is to succeed so the 17 up there watching can be proud of me. Even though I didn't know them all, in God's eyes, we're all family," Goodman said.
When asked about professional football and if he's a Patriots fans, Goodman told Welch, "No ma'am. Atlanta Falcons."
Goodman's younger sister is also a student at the high school who survived the shooting.