Big Dawg: Emmit Gooden

Defensive end Emmit Gooden made several trips to Mississippi State when his brother Jarvis Varnado ruled the SEC as the nation's leading shot blocker. Gooden has made several return trips to Starkville over the course of the last two years as he considers his own college future. This weekend, the four star talent attended the Bulldogs' Big Dawg camp.


"The camp was great," Gooden said. "It was good to be around Coach (David) Turner and some of the other guys. I worked through all of the drills and picked up some tips to improve my craft.

"I really like Coach Turner. I sort of look up to him as sort of a father figure. He gives me a lot of ideas on how to play the game and perfect things for my position. Today it was great to really get some hands on instruction from him."

Gooden shined during the one-on-ones, but he reports that the challenge presented by the other players was intense at times.

"There was a lot of good competition on the offensive side of the ball," Gooden said. "We had some great ones on the defensive side of the ball too. Jeff (Simmons) did a great job. I really liked working with him."

The Bulldogs are one of several schools still vying for position in the race to signing day. While a firm time frame for a decision is still being finalized, Gooden reports that Mississippi State remains a contender.

"Right now my list is Mississippi State, Tennessee, LSU, Alabama and Texas A&M," Gooden said. "If today was signing day, it would be really hard to decide.

"I'm hoping that I get selected to play in the Army All-American game. If that happens, then I am going to announce on national television. If not, then I am just going to wait until National Signing day."

For now, Gooden is doing his best to train his focus on Haywood High School football. The talented defensive end wants his final prep season to be his best one.

"We have a big season coming up," Gooden said. "This is my last year, so I just want to grind and try to get Mr. Football for the state of Tennessee. I want to be the best in my school and the best in my state. I just want to be the best I can possibly be."

A pair of SEC schools are still talking with Gooden about making one final summer trip before fall practices begin.

"LSU is still working on me to come down there to the boot next week," Gooden said. "Texas A&M wants me to come and visit them too. It's getting close to school now, so I will just have to see about all of that. Right now, I am just working."


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