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story.lead_photo.caption Emmit Gooden

There will be a huge defensive lineman standing on the sideline at Reynolds Razorback Stadium today, one who likely could help Arkansas in its 6:30 p.m. game with visiting No. 21 Auburn.

The only problem is Independence (Kan.) Community College standout and Razorback pledge Emmit Gooden (6-foot-4, 320 pounds), who is visiting the Razorbacks unofficially this weekend, still has to finish up his sophomore season of junior college football and graduate.

Gooden said he’s looking forward to taking in the atmosphere in Fayetteville, catching up with his friend McTelvin “Sosa” Agim and visiting with the Arkansas football coaches and players.

“It will be my first college game day in Fayetteville,” Gooden said. “I haven’t seen Sosa or some of the coaches in awhile so it would be good to get down there, spend some time with the them, be around the players and also meet some of the fans.”

Gooden dreams of teaming up in Arkansas’ 3-4 defense with Agim, a player he met when both were high-level recruits a few years ago.

“It is a good scheme for Arkansas and I think I will fit it perfectly right along with Sosa playing the other end spot,” Gooden said. “It will allow us to chase down some people. It is perfect for us. I hope they stick with it and I can’t wait to be in Fayetteville soon.”

Independence (6-1, 4-0) has won six games in a row after a season-opening 70-21 loss to No. 2 Iowa Western.

That includes a 9-6 win at Highland on Sunday in a game that was delayed 24 hours due to severe weather and played in sloppy field conditions.

“It was kind of tough, but at least we finally got to play the game and got a win,” Gooden said.

Gooden has 51 tackles this season, which is second on his team, as well as 3.5 tackles for lost yardage so far for head coach Jason Brown.

“He’s doing well,” Brown said. “We are moving him around a little, putting him at nose guard. He played well the other day. He got our defensive MVP award, caused a fumble and made some great plays.

“He is always getting double-teamed and he demands that double-team. He also ran to the football very well, better than I have seen him in two years.”

Brown was thrilled with the road win despite the two-day wait to play.

“It got canceled on Saturday and then we had to stay another night about an hour-and-half away after finding a hotel,” Brown said. “They figured it out and we were able to come out with a win.

“This is basically the SEC of junior colleges, so any road win is a great one. We gladly took it and the kids are getting a little more tough-skinned week-by-week.”

Independence has its second bye of the season this weekend, which allows Good-en the chance to visit Fayetteville, where he took his official visit back in June.

“We are just taking it one game at a time,” Gooden said. “We have to attack the bye week like we did our first bye week and hopefully by the end of the season be in position to play for the natty (national championship).”

It’s been expected that Gooden would be a mid-term graduate and be at Arkansas in January.

Brown says that remains doable, but Gooden and some others have work to do and he’s pushing them to do it.

“We are focusing on the classroom this week and getting these guys right,” Brown said. “Football is all well and dandy, but if they don’t graduate, it really doesn’t do much good, so we are focusing on that.

“Emmit has got to pass the classes that he is in. He is in a specialized study hall that I have put about 15 guys in and they won’t do much football this week.”

Gooden remains confident he will arrive early.

“Yes sir, I will be there in January,” Gooden said. “It (early enrollment) will help me out a lot to put on weight if I need to, to lose weight if I need to, to get to the right size and live up to my potential to play against the best in the country.”

Dudley Dawson is the recruiting editor for Hawgs Illustrated magazine.

“It is a good scheme for Arkansas and I think I will fit it perfectly right along with Sosa playing the other end spot. It will allow us to chase down some people. It is perfect for us. I hope they stick with it and I can’t wait to be in Fayetteville soon.”

— Emmit Gooden, Independence (Kan.) Community College defensive lineman and Arkansas commit

Print Headline: Gooden looks forward to UA visit

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