This time around, Emmit Gooden said his criteria for picking a college is different. The versatile defensive lineman is on pace to finish up at Independence Community College next winter with three to play two.
"I have to find the right fit for me," he said. "I can't make a mistake, especially being a JUCO kid. You can't make a mistake by going to a school because of the uniforms or this coach or that coach. You just have to pick the right fit and surround yourself by the right people for the next couple years. I want to go somewhere that has a family atmosphere because family is a big thing to me."
Alabama, Georgia, Louisville, Mississippi State, Missouri and UTSA offered Gooden once his recruiting process began at the Junior College level and recently he has been hearing the most from Colorado, Memphis, UAB and Tennessee.
"I think Colorado is the school that is catching my eye right now," Gooden said when asked if he has any early favorites. "I like that it is a Pac-12 school. It might sound weird with me being a down South guy. I never thought I would receive interest from schools out there.
"I have enjoyed talking to Colorado and getting a chance to know [defensive coordinator and outside linebackers] coach DJ Eliot, who just got there recently. It is always great catching up with him. They are going to come out here this spring and it sounds like Colorado would be a good fit for me. They need defensive linemen, too."
Gooden has talked with the Buffaloes' staff about the possibility of visiting Boulder this summer. Right now, though, he wants to go through the spring evaluation period before finalizing any visit plans.
"As the schools and offers come in, I will think about it and figure it out," he said. "There is a chance I might get it over with and commit this summer so I can just focus on football next fall and get ready to go there in January."
Gooden has spent time lining up at defensive tackle, defensive end and nose tackle during his young football career. He feels he could play any of those spots at his next stop.
"We have a 4-3 and a 3-4 package here (at Independence C.C.) and I can play all over," he said. "Coming out of high school, I was a pass rusher and the more I added on weight and the more I have studied the game, I have gotten a whole lot better with stopping the run."
In the coming months, leading up to the 2017 season, Gooden hopes to get in the best shape of his life while staying in the 310-315 pound range.
"I also want to add a few moves to my game," he added.