Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’ll cover the news and which way a big target such as JUCO DT Emmit Gooden might lean plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
Big junior college DT Emmit Gooden released a top 20 this week. A lot of the heavyweights including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Southern Cal were on there.
Top 20 (No Order) https://t.co/EK67aIJT1D
— TheRealEmmitG (@What_A_Star5) May 16, 2017
The nation’s No. 2 junior college prospect at his position, per 247Sports, hopes to cut that list in half within the next 10 days.
Gooden, who had big offers from Alabama and LSU in the Class of 2016, had to take the junior college route. But he’s always been focused on making the right impression. The young man still sounds like he’s all about his business and his future now.
That traces back to when his high school football team started to wear ties as a squad in unison. When they did, he wanted to do more.
He sought out a local men’s shop and added a blazer to that ensemble. Gooden wanted folks to know that football mattered and was important to him back then. He’s now off away from his Tennessee home playing at Independence (Kan.) Community College.
So he missed Mother’s Day. Gooden still found the time to send his mother a card. He’s the one in college, but he also included a “little bit of money” for her, too.
For those reading along, Gooden sure sounds like he’s got his head in the right place.
How does Emmit Gooden feel about UGA right now?
Gooden’s offer list has increased of late. Oklahoma was a big offer for him. That’s because he aspires to be the same force in the middle of a defense Gerald McCoy was for the Sooners. McCoy is now an NFL vet, but the big JUCO tackle likes that comparison.
He also appreciates what former UGA great Geno Atkins has done in his NFL career, too.
Which offers already check off everything he is looking for at the next level?
“Georgia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Memphis, UAB, Bama and just about all of them,” Gooden said. “Just about all of them really. Most of them are looking for a good defensive tackle that can come right in and play right away.”
The Bulldogs have not relented in their approach. Offensive line coach Sam Pittman stopped by Independence this spring to catch Gooden working out.
He’s even noticed the fans on social media.
“Of course Oklahoma has the fans on Twitter that blow me up every day but every now and then there will be a couple of ‘Dawg fans doing it, too,” he said.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart also hits up his phone with messages, too.
“That’s an honor right there with the head coach hitting you up,” Gooden said. “How many head coaches reach out to you? For him to take time out of his busy schedule? I know that man has got things to do. Things to do to help make Georgia a lot better.”
Gooden also hears from Georgia defensive line coach Tray Scott regularly. He said he communicates with Smart about every other week. Gooden said that only the coaches at Arizona State, LSU, Mississippi State and Oklahoma reach out to him as much as Smart does.
The opportunity Emmit Gooden sees at UGA
“Georgia tells me that they can be the spot for me,” he said. “They want me and that I will fit right in and they really need me. For me getting the chance to visit on my spring break was important. I could have chilled or been on the beach or anything else but I had to go check it out and see what Georgia has to offer.
“I can see playing time and early playing time at Georgia and I see family. It seems like all the D-line and the defensive unit itself is knitted tight. I can see the potential for championships and potential draft picks in their program right now. That all plays a part in this recruiting stuff.”
Gooden said he’s now up to 320 pounds. The 6-foot-4 prospect can play up and down the defensive line. He’ll be back to campus soon.
“I made a promise to them I would come back to Georgia and check things out in the summer,” he said. “Not only go once. Go a few times. Get to know the people around campus and around the city. Try to make myself feel at home.”
He said there is “no doubt” that Georgia will get an official visit. The 3-star recruit isn’t bashful about putting in research for this.
“I am checking out their schedule to see which home game would be good,” Gooden said. “Just like the coaches do their research on me I am scouting out each program. I am checking on Georgia’s “DawgWalk” and all their practices and interviews. It seems like their “DawgWalk’ is one of the best things around Georgia down south. I want to get the chance to experience that and see that. No doubt about it.
“When I saw that video of them coming off that bus and shaking it and rocking it from side-to-side, boy it brought chills across my body. That did something to my soul. I caught chills watching it.”
His decision timeline is fluid. If he has a “dang good” official visit to a certain school, then he could commit. He has to feel it and his mother also has to feel it.
It has to be an even greater feeling than when he committed to Mississippi State in high school. If not, he’ll just sign on the junior college signing day.
Gooden said when he went to UGA with his father over spring break he “really felt that family atmosphere.” That said, this is not an all-Georgia race. It sounds like other schools including Arkansas, Arizona State, Memphis and Oklahoma have really made an impression, too.
But when he thinks about his best visits as a high school and a junior-college recruit, he said that the recent visit to UGA ranks among the top 3 he’s ever been on.
“Georgia is really doing some great things and I think they have got a chance to be one of the top teams in the SEC East if not the top team in the SEC East this year.”
Look for Gooden to wear No. 90 or No. 5 in college.