Chad Simmons - scout

Standout defensive end Emmit Gooden talks about his official visit to Mississippi State

Three star defensive end Emmit Gooden took his final scheduled official visit this weekend when took the trip to Starkville to see what his options are long term at Mississippi State. With the Bulldogs safely in the final three, Gooden reports that he is close to announcing his college decision.

"It was great to get back down there," Gooden said of Starkville. "I have been down there several times, but this was another chance to get down there and meet with the coaches and players."

The Tennessee native reports that the highlight of the trip was having the chance to see the Bulldogs in action on the practice field as they prepare for the Wolfpack of North Carolina State.

"This was the first bowl practice I have been able to go to," Gooden said. "It was good to see how far they've come and to see all of the progress they have made. They looked good and they were working hard."

Gooden was hosted by Bulldog defensive end A.J. Jefferson who answered all of his questions and showed him the ropes of being a Bulldog football player.

"It was a great time," Gooden said. "They really showed me around and made me feel like I was family there. I got to hang out with a lot of the players and just get treated like I was already part of the team."

Gooden showed up for Saturday's practice decked in Maroon and White, but also sporting some new accessories that were part of a fashion statement he hoped to avoid, a cast and crutches.

"I got rolled up in the All-Star game Friday night," Gooden said. "They think I might have torn some ligaments and fractured something. I am going to see an orthopedic doctor this week and he is going to tell me what we need to do and how long I will be out."

Alabama, LSU and Mississippi State are the final three schools in Gooden's deliberations though several trips to the Mississippi State campus have Bulldog fans optimistic about their team's chances. Bulldog defensive line Coach David Turner appears to be doing his part to ensure the Tennessee native picks the Maroon and White.

"Coach Turner was telling me about how he wanted me to come there," Gooden said. "He said that he felt like I would like it there and that they could really use me. I know he is ready for me to make this announcement.

"I am going to try to get an unofficial visit to Alabama and LSU before I decide. I am trying to get that set up, but I am probably going to announce everything next Sunday no matter what."

Gooden had originally planned to announce his college destination as part of an All-Star appearance. With his availability in question due to his recent injury, those plans are now up in the air.

"I am supposed to play in the Blue and Grey game, but I may not be able to," Gooden said. "I was going to announce it at the game, but I am probably just going to do it anyway even if I don't play."

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