Arkansas pledge Emmit Gooden leading Pirate bounceback

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Emmit Gooden
Emmit Gooden

— After getting Hollywood out of its head, Independence, Kan., Community College’s squad has gotten back to the business of playing football.

Independence opened the season with a humbling 70-21 loss to Iowa Western Community College, but the Pirates have won two in a row, including knocking off defending national champ Garden City 27-23 on Saturday night.

Arkansas defensive line pledge Emmit Gooden, whose team’s 2017 season is being filmed for the 2018 season of Netflix’ Last Chance U, had nine tackles in the latest win.

“It was a statement-making game for us,” Gooden said. “After we got beat like that in the first game, we got together and said that was not going to define us as a defense and said nothing like that is going down around here ever again.

“I'm not going to say (Last Chance U) was why we got beat like that in the first game, but I do think it had gotten in our heads a little bit. Now we are just doing what we do and playing football the way we can play it.”

Gooden, a former Brownsville, Tenn., prep star who chose Arkansas over Alabama, Oklahoma, Louisville, Tennessee, Mississippi State and numerous others, has 20 tackles so far this season.

“I don’t think I handled the double and triple-teaming that I got during the first game very well at all,” Gooden said. “But I went to work, listen to (defensive coordinator) coach (Jason) Martin on how to deal with it and I have played much better the last two games.

“I am doing things to make plays and things that help my teammates make them.”

Gooden, who had 55 tackles, 13.5 stops, four sacks and two forced fumbles for lost yardage as a freshman, remains solidly committed to the Razorbacks and had a visit from Arkansas defensive line coach John Scott on Monday.

“I’m still 100 percent solid to Arkansas,” Gooden said. “Actually coach Scott was up here Monday, visited with me and followed me around. I’m really excited about the fact I am going to be a Razorback.”

Gooden, who took his official visit to Arkansas in June and is scheduled to be a mid-term graduate and go through 2018 spring practice with Razorbacks, had mentioned earlier this year that he might still visit some other schools.

“There are a couple of schools still contacting me and trying to get me to visit, but I am not going to do that,” Good said. “I’m just going to take care of our season here and then get down there and help Arkansas.

Gooden was expecting to be on hand for Arkansas’ game with Auburn on Oct. 21, but will be unable to make it.

“That’s an open date for us, but I have to go home and take care of some things so I am going to get to another one, just not sure which one yet.”

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