Jeremy Pruitt’s defensive line is down a potential starter after redshirt senior Emmit Gooden was dismissed from the program Thursday after being arrested on felony domestic assault charges. The former Last Chance U star was accused of hitting his girlfriend with a glass jar candle during an argument, according to an arrest warrant. The woman reportedly suffered facial injuries that required sutures after the incident.
Gooden appeared in all 12 games with one start for Tennessee as a backup to nose tackle Shy Tuttle last season, recording 33 total tackles and seven tackles for loss. The Brownsville, Texas native was a 4-star JUCO recruit when signed in Jeremy Pruitt’s initial recruiting class in 2018. He started immediately after transferring from Independence Community College and made a big impact on UT’s defense.
Despite missing some time with an injury, Gooden was considered a likely starter for the Vols this year and had a chance to be the team’s best defensive lineman. He was set to compete with Greg Emerson, Kurott Garland, Elijah Simmons and Kingston Harris for starting roles at the position.
Gooden is the second Tennessee player to be dismissed this summer, joining running back Tim Jordan after his May arrest in Florida. He joins a lengthy list of talented, underachieving players who have fallen off the college football radar because of legal issues. It’s a shame that it took just one stupid decision to derrail a young man’s life work in a matter of minutes.