Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook. Today, we discuss a top defensive line target, an upcoming commitment announcement and more.
Emmit Gooden taking education seriously in second recruiting chance
Arkansas 2018 defensive line target Emmit Gooden missed out on his first opportunity to play major college football.
Listed as a 4-star recruit by 247Sports’ composite rankings in the 2016 class, Gooden fully intended to sign with Mississippi State as a senior at Haywood High School in Brownsville, Tenn. He even planned to enroll a semester early after choosing the Bulldogs over offers from Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Penn State Tennessee and several others major programs.
The reality was he’d never been on track to qualify academically. His ACT score was high enough, but his GPA was not. Gooden was forced to accept that fact in January of 2016 when he announced he would be enrolling at the junior college level.
Gooden (6-foot-4, 315 pounds) is now taking his academics seriously at Independence (Kan.) Community College in an effort to make the most of a second opportunity.
“All you’ve got to do is just try and apply yourself,” Gooden recently told SEC Country. “I feel like in high school, I didn’t do that. I was too caught up in recruiting. Every day it felt like from my sophomore year on, schools were piling in and visiting with so many coaches wanting to talk to me. I let that get to my head.
“Out here, I’ve got a chance to work on my grades. I’ve had to learn to be a student first. The teachers work with you and we’ve got plenty of tutors. So, you can’t fail at the JUCO level unless you don’t try.”
Gooden’s on-field performance as a freshman at Independence has landed him a long list of major offers for a second time. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma and Southern Cal are among them. He is rated as the No. 2 defensive tackle and No. 7 overall junior college prospect in the 2018 class.
“I kind of knew the offers would be coming back, but you never know,” Gooden said. “Some people go to JUCO and their skill level and talent go downhill or their recruiting goes downhill. Luckily with mine, I lived up to the hype and didn’t fall off, so mine has picked up.”
Gooden says he’s “without a doubt” on track to graduate in December and enroll at his next school for the 2018 spring semester.
Arkansas is currently a strong possibility of being his next stop. The Hogs’ coaching staff, particularly defensive line coach John Scott Jr. and defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads, have made Gooden a major priority in recent weeks. The Razorbacks’ case is also strengthened by Gooden’s friendship with sophomore defensive end McTelvin “Sosa” Agim.
4-star QB Gerry Bohanon Jr. sets commitment decision for Friday
Earle (Ark.) 4-star quarterback Gerry Bohanon Jr. plans to announce his commitment Friday, he confirmed to SEC Country. The top-rated recruit in the Natural State for 2018 expects to make the announcement in the evening.
Bohanon (6-4, 220) indicated he has narrowed his list of 13 offers to a few still in consideration but was not ready to announce them yet. He’s visited Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tennessee in recent months.
Arkansas’ chances increased when the Hogs committed to signing him as a quarterback during his visit in late April. The coaching staff had previously been non-committal on a proposed position. Every program in pursuit has said they view him as a quarterback, his preferred position.
“When I was down there, I sat down and talked with [offensive coordinator Dan] Enos and [head coach Bret] Bielema,” Bohanon said earlier this week. “They said they want me to come down there and play quarterback now. That’s a good thing. It opened my eyes and gave me a better outlook on them. I can look at them more now and start to really pay attention to them.”
Arkansas currently has four commits in the 2018 class. One of them is a quarterback — 4-star Greenwood (Ark.) standout Connor Noland.
Hogs in top 12 for 4-star DT target Calvin Avery
Bishop Dunne (Dallas) defensive tackle Calvin Avery has Arkansas among his top 12 schools, which he released via Twitter on Sunday.
The Razorbacks offered Avery (6-2, 320) last Friday, though the 4-star prospect has been on their radar for some time. Texas A&M is the only other SEC school on his list that also includes Ohio State, Oklahoma, Southern Cal and Texas.
— Boogie++🍇™ (@_TMBoog) May 14, 2017
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