Gooden confirms he's still committed to Arkansas

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Sunday, August 6, 2017
Emmit Gooden
Emmit Gooden

— Arkansas defensive line pledge Emmit Gooden of Independence, Kan., Community College created a bit of a stir on Sunday when he tweeted the word ‘DeCommit’ on Twitter.

But Gooden (6-4, 320) confirmed soon afterwards that he was not talking about himself, just offering advice to another prospect.

“I was responding to a guy who had said he was not sure whether he wanted to go the place he was committed at and thought maybe he should look around at his other options,” Gooden said Sunday afternoon. “I was just trying to tell him to de-commit to be fair to himself and the school.”

No doubt Razorback coaches and fans are happy that Gooden - who chose Arkansas over Alabama, Georgia, USC, Oklahoma and a host of other elite schools - was not talking about himself.

“No sir, I am 100 percent committed to Arkansas,” said Gooden, who pledged to the Razorbacks on June 18th. “I’ll be at Arkansas.”

Gooden also responded to a report from one publication that he might take all five of his official visits even though he is “100 percent” committed to Arkansas and head coach Bret Bielema.

“I don’t think I am going to take all five,” Gooden said. “There are still some teams trying to talk to me. But I have to talk that over with Coach B. I won't take any if he doesn't want me to do so.”

It was announced this week that Independence’s 2017 season will chronicled by the Netflix hit series ‘Last Chance U’ and will come out in the summer for 2018.

Gooden has watched the two previous seasons that focused on East Mississippi Community College.

“I finished both of the first two seasons in one day each,” Gooden said. “…To actually be a part of it, I feel honored.”

Independence won four of its last five games during the 2016 and went 5-5 overall with the the program’s first ever sweep of Jayhawk Conference foes Hutchinson, Butler and Coffeyville.

It was quite the turnaround from a team that had lost 21 games in a row entering the season, but flourished under new head coach Jason Brown.

Independence is picked third in the Jayhawk Conference preseason poll behind defending national champion Garden City and Butler.

“Our goal is always going to be the same, to win each game and to take the games one at a time,” Gooden said. “We got can’t too high although we know there is going to be a lot of hype because of our team being on the show.”

Independence has several talented players on this year’s roster including Gooden, Florida State transfer quarterback commit Malik Henry and Oklahoma offensive line pledge Tramonda Moore.

“We have got talent everywhere,” Gooden said. “We just all need to buy in and take it one game at a time and I think we are doing that. We started fall camp last week, actually last Sunday, and we have really looked good.

“As for individual goals, I just want to be the best that I can be.”

Gooden’s only experience with the 3-4 defense - which Arkansas has switched to this year - came in his freshman year of high school.

“I am used to it and I have been playing end most of my high school career and in college,” Gooden said. “It really doesn’t effect me much. I just go play.”

He had 55 tackles, 4 sacks and 2 forced fumbles for Independence this past season and was rated a 4-star prospect by ESPN coming out of Brownsville, (Tenn.) Haywood in 2016.

“I think when people see me, they see a 6-4, 320-pound or 325-pound guy, but I think they underestimate my speed,” Gooden said. “My strength is stopping the run, but I can also get to the quarterback and so I think my strength is my versatility.”

He plans to get to a Razorback game this season.

“It will be later in the season, but I am not sure of just what game yet,” Gooden said. “I’ll just have to match up our schedules.”

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