The football journey for Emmit Gooden has been one with twists and turns. He was a four-star defensive end in the class of 2016 but now he's at his second junior college, preparing for an initial impression with Independence (Kans.) Community College this year.
But there has been some recruiting carryover for Gooden, who originally committed to Mississippi State in January. The Bulldogs are still on his trail as are Missouri and Alabama, which offered Sunday while he was in Tuscaloosa.
"To still lay eyes on me, even though I'm at a JUCO, I feel appreciated," he said. "That makes me thankful for 'Bama, to offer me, recruit me and get to know me a little better."
Gooden, who was a strongside defensive end in high school, checked in at 6-foot-4, 305 pounds while in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide sees a fit on the defensive interior after the Volunteer State native has completes his work at Independence.
"Their message was that they wanted me to have a place whenever I was done with JUCO, in 18 months they said, 'we just want you to have a place to call home. We want you on our defense and think you're our type of player,'" he said. "I felt honored to receive that offer. It's a good program that can get players to the next level."
With three seasons to play two after junior college, Gooden still considers himself a Mississippi State Bulldog, though he also claims "no leaders" this early in his re-recruitment.
Alabama will get him back on campus for a game this year, he says. It will enable more time with a potential position coach.
"It was good to see some of the new coaches, new faces, just to mingle with them and get to know them a little better, to keep the relationship going," he said. "Me and [defensive line] coach [Karl] Dunbar have been keeping in touch."