Emmit Gooden of Haywood High School, doesn’t plan to announce his commitment until February, but the 4-star defensive end appears to have every intention of playing in the SEC.
On Tuesday, Gooden confirmed to the AJC a top five that includes Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi State, Alabama and Texas A&M, in no particular order.
The 6-foot-3, 285-pounder from Brownsville, Tenn., has reported 13 offers and has long been considered a strong Tennessee lean. Gooden remains in constant contact with the Volunteers’ coaching staff, particularly defensive line coach Steve Stripling, his main recruiter.
“They’re good recruiters,” Gooden told the AJC. “I think (Tennessee coach Butch Jones) is trying to do a good job of keeping all the in-state kids. I talk to them just about every week.”
Gooden, who has unofficially visited Tennessee twice in the last two months, says he may be in attendance for the program’s home game against Western Carolina this Saturday. But that isn’t the only school he’s considering visiting this weekend.
LSU and Mississippi State, two schools Gooden covets, could be possible landing destinations on Saturday as well.
The Tigers in particular, though, appear to be high on his board and vice versa. Gooden, who unofficially visited LSU in April, says coach Les Miles drew a comparison between him and current Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Bennie Logan, who played for the Tigers from 2010-12.
“(Coach Les Miles) and the coaching staff, they love me,” Gooden said. “If I don’t hear from coach Miles just about every day, I know something is wrong.”
As unsure as he is about where he’ll commit next year, Gooden says he’ll likely take official visits to each of his top five schools.
However, there is a chance he could visit a handful of others, including Arizona State, Kentucky, North Carolina State and Missouri.
Gooden is ranked as the No. 4 prospect in the state of Tennessee.