Vols Offer 2018 Four-Star JUCO Defensive Tackle

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    Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

    While he was in high school, Emmit Gooden seriously considered the Vols and was actually committed to them for a while. And now that he’s in junior college, the Vols have entered the mix in his recruitment once again.

    Tennessee extended an offer to Gooden, now a four-star JUCO defensive tackle, on Sunday. Coming out of high school, Gooden was a four-star defensive end who was rated as the No. 316 overall player and 16th-rated defensive end in the 2016 class according to the 247Sports Composite ranking. He played for Haywood High School in Brownsville, TN.

    Now Gooden plays for Independence Community College, and he’s a four-star defensive tackle and the No. 7 JUCO defensive tackle according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Gooden had been committed to Arkansas for several months before decommitting from them on November 1st. He was committed to Mississippi State out of high school but didn’t sign with them, ending up at Independence instead. Gooden was committed to the Vols in the early part of 2014 before decommitting.

    Gooden holds offers from Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, USC, and others. Arizona State and Louisville are the two teams who are considered the favorites in his recruitment right now.

    A 6-foot-4, 295 pounds, Gooden is a versatile defensive lineman who has the frame to be an even bigger defensive tackle than he already is. His film shows a disruptive interior lineman who has the athleticism to both rush the passer and stop the run.

    Tennessee currently has three projected defensive tackles signed in their 2018 class. Four-star Greg Emerson, four-star Brant Lawless, and three-star Kingston Harris all signed with the Vols during the early signing period.

    If the Vols can land Gooden, he would be the fourth JUCO player to pledge to the Vols in the 2018 class.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.