The Alabama Crimson Tide is sitting lower in the Scout recruiting rankings (54th) than many can remember during the Nick Saban era, though few expect it to remain the case much longer. The staff continues to press targets new and old and Saban connected with one on Monday.
Independence (Kans.) Community College defensive tackle Emmit Gooden picked up his verbal offer from Alabama last summer during an unofficial visit. Saban's conversation with Gooden Monday will result in a return trip to Tuscaloosa.
"Over the phone he (Saban) said that he would love to have me play for him and talked about a visit," he said. "Talked about the program and different things like what 'Bama has to offer me off the field as well.
"Education and competition for championships."
Gooden visited during camp season last summer but didn't work out. His next time in town will likely be as a camp participant.
"My last time at 'Bama was like last year around this time," he said. "It's been busy, busy, busy, I'm taking it slow but about to start trimming it down."
Admitting his next cut could come "soon," Alabama is one program already slated to make the list.
"Because of the success I would have and the plan they have for me," he said.
Oklahoma is the other program Gooden knows will make his next cut. The Tennessee native, who plans on graduating from Independence in December, will then take his official visits ahead of making a decision.
A four-star recruit coming out of high school in the class of 2016, the interior defensive lineman will have three seasons to play two following the 2017 season.