Gooch inks with the Volunteers

This time of the year, full-qualifiers who spent last fall at at JC start getting looks as four-year schools try to fill holes in their rosters. That is exactly what happened to Butte C Darin Gooch (6-2.5, 305) as the Tennessee coaching staff were in need of a pivot. This week things came to a head and on Saturday, the talented lineman signed with the Volunteers and will enroll next week...

Gooch prepped at McQueen High School in Reno, Nevada and there is a history behind why he ended up at Butte.

"His dad played for my dad when he was in high school," Butte offensive coordinator Robbie Snelling told "Then (Darin) played for my brother at McQueen and didn't get recruited, so I brought him in here to play for me."

"I wasn't very big coming out of high school so I didn't really get recruited," Gooch admitted. "I think I was right around 215 pounds because I had trimmed down for wrestling season, so I decided to come to Butte because they had just won the National Championship and I felt like it was a good program that could get me prepared to play at the next level."

Once Gooch arrived at Butte, he almost immediately was put in place as the starting center for the Roadrunners and he thrived in the spot.

"He's a hard-working kid," Snelling said. "He's smart, he's a hard worker, he's strong, I mean, I can't speak more highly of him.

Following the season, Gooch went to work in the weight room and maxed out on the bench at 460 pounds and squatted over 500 while participating in spring drills with his team.

That's when four-year schools started making inquiries into is eligibility.

"When Tennessee found out I was a qualifier, that's when things really started rolling," Gooch said. "I had Rice and Colorado talking to me a little bit and Vanderbilt and Pitt, but Tennessee was the school that really picked it up and they brought me in on a visit on Tuesday.

"When I sat down with coach (Derek) Dooley, he just said he liked me a lot and that they were looking for someone to come in and do a great job and they felt like I was the one to get it done for them.

"They offered and then I came home and talked it over with my family and I signed today (Saturday), so I'll fly out on Tuesday and get enrolled and set to begin summer school and start working out with the team."

"We're going to miss him, but it was too good of an opportunity for him to pass up," Snelling added.

Gooch said it came down to the fact that Tennessee offered and he loved the school, the program and the situation he was heading into.

"They wanted a center to come in and challenge to play right away," Gooch said. "They watched four games of mine and said they didn't see one (botched) snap or mistake, so that's what impressed them most about me."

Once Gooch arrives in Knoxville, he will have four years to play three seasons.

Darin Gooch Scout Profile

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