Emmit Gooden’s football path has already taken lots of twists and turns, and he hasn’t even started D1 ball yet.
Gooden became a four-star prospect at Brownsville (Tenn.) Haywood High School and committed to be part of Tennessee’s 2016 class before flipping to Mississippi State. But after failing to qualify, Gooden ended up enrolling at Kansas’s Independence Community College instead, still intending to join the Bulldogs in 2018.
At Independence in 2016, Gooden racked up 55 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and two forced fumbles. When he re-opened his recruiting in January, that immediately made him one of the most sought-after JUCO guys in the 2018 class.
At 6-4, 310 pounds, Gooden could become one of the most physically imposing 3-techniques OU has recruited. Calvin Thibodeaux has yet to land any monster prospects for the Sooners, but getting Gooden could be exactly the boost this class and defense has been looking for. He would be a factor from day one.
Surprisingly, OU’s best angle for the talented lineman may be a player who hasn’t been at Oklahoma since 2009: Gerald McCoy.
Reportedly Gooden’s favorite player, McCoy is one of the most successful Sooners in the NFL today. Gooden must love the idea of following in his footsteps, especially now that Oklahoma is back to a base 4-3.
OU is returning the interest, and Thibodeaux offered Gooden in person last Monday.
Now, Gooden says he will visit Norman for the first time this weekend, with plans to return during the season as well. Gooden holds offers from Alabama, Georgia, Louisville, Arkansas, Miami and USC, and could still go to Mississippi State if he wants to. With so many options, Gooden will no doubt take his time. But it’s exciting to be in the running for such a dynamic player, and I think Thibodeaux will have a great chance to bring this guy to Norman.