Emmit Gooden committed to play football for Tennessee four years ago, then dropped his commitment. Later in his high school career, he committed to Dan Mullen and Mississippi State, but never ended up in Starkville. Instead, Gooden took his talents to Independence Community College in Kansas for junior college ball.
Now, he adds defensive line depth to a 2018 Vol line losing Kendal Vickers and Kahlil McKenzie. Gooden is the No. 17 ranked junior college player according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. He was in town in the final week for visits, so Pruitt and staff obviously made a good final impression on him. The Vols beat out West Virginia and Arkansas for him.
Gooden has a strong base to match two tree trunks of arms. Off the line, he can use those arms to move most smaller guards out of the way. He has a quick first step, but doesn’t keep up the intensity if the play keeps going.
The Vols could try and model Gooden like NFL Draft-departed Kahlil McKenzie — both have large bodies and plenty of upper body strength. With that being said, watch for Gooden to beef up and become a run-stopper in the middle for Tracy Rocker and Tennessee’s defense.