Emmit Gooden was once before interested in joining the Tennessee football program. In 2016, he was a four-star in-state strongside defensive end from Brownsville. It seemed like Steve Stripling was going to land him for Butch Jones and the Vols.
But instead, Gooden went to Independence Community College in Independence, Kan. and built up his profile. After two years, he’s finally on Rocky Top, as he committed to Jeremy Pruitt and co. during the last recruiting season. Now, he has two years to reach his hype. After all, he remained a four-star recruit.
The biggest plus in Gooden’s favor is his versatility. He’s still considered a strongside defensive end, but he has gotten up to 6’3″ 306 pounds. It’s pretty clear that Pruitt and Kevin Sherrer want the second end in their 3-4 scheme to be a guy who can line up at tackle as well when they use their four down linemen. Gooden fits that bill perfectly.
His freshman year of junior college, Gooden picked up 55 tackles, 13 and a half tackles for a loss, four sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Then, as a sophomore, he picked up 81 tackles with another six and a half tackles for a loss and a sack. This guy is clearly a playmaker.
On top of that, Gooden is going to a position where he figures to at least be in the rotation. Kyle Phillips is the one true end. Shy Tuttle figures to be the nose tackle. But Gooden and Alexis Johnson can definitely compete for the other spot. Even if Johnson wins it, expect Gooden to see significant action there.