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Vols’ JUCO enrollee named an instant impact player for 2018

Will he start right off the bat?

NCAA Football: Southern Mississippi at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

CBS Sports has released their list of ten summer enrollees who should make an instant impact this fall. It’s an interesting look because you typically find your instant impact players among the early enrollees. Still, there are summer enrollees who step onto campus in good spots to contribute, simply because of how the roster is shaped.

Considering the Vols added four JUCO prospects in 2018, it’s not all that surprising that Tennessee had a player appear on the list. Really, tight end Dominick Wood-Anderson, edge rusher Jordan Allen, defensive lineman Emmit Gooden or offensive tackle Jahmir Johnson could have appeared on this list.

But CBS chose to spotlight Gooden. Here’s what they had to say about the incoming interior lineman.

Emmit Gooden, DL, Tennessee: New coach Jeremy Pruitt is trying to quickly turn Tennessee into a bigger, more physical football team. Gooden arrives from the junior college ranks as a 6-foot-4, 305-pound hunk of mass that can be help drive that transition. Jonathan Kongbo has already indicated that he’s making the move to outside linebacker which further opens up some opportunity and a need on the defensive interior for Gooden.

Gooden fits somewhere on the three down lineman front for the Vols, but we don’t know where yet. With all indications pointing towards Shy Tuttle starting at nose, Gooden could be in play to handle one of the five-technique (34DE) spots. Kyle Phillips is probably a good bet to handle one of those positions, but the other spot is open—especially with Jonathan Kongbo declaring himself as a linebacker.

It’s also important to remember that Tennessee played with four down lineman quite a bit more than expected during the Orange and White game. Perhaps that will offer more opportunities to Gooden, especially if Phillips kicks back outside.

Gooden was a plugger for Independence Community College last season, racking up 13.5 tackles for loss and even adding four sacks. At 6-4, 305 pounds, Jeremy Pruitt and defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer won’t have to wait for Gooden to add any weight. He’s ready to go.

Tennessee actually has quite a few pieces within the front seven, it’s still unclear how they will all be pieced together, however. It’s going to be fun to follow that entire group through camp.