Tennessee is proving to be quite the pain for Auburn football on the recruiting trail. On Monday, 3-star offensive tackle J’Marion Gooch flipped from the Tigers and announced his commitment to the Volunteers.
Thank you to the Auburn Community, and coaching staff for all of the support during this process. After much thought and consideration, I have decided....@CoachTBarr @TKACoachSellers @CoachJPruitt @JimChaneyUT @CoachWillFriend @aspicer19 pic.twitter.com/gGT3EsRVcF— G_soshiesty (@GoochJmarion) August 31, 2020
Gooch (6-foot-7, 358 pounds) is from Seymour, Tennessee, just outside of Knoxville. He plays offensive tackle and defensive line for The King’s Academy. He’s ranked as the 790th overall player and 68th ranked offensive tackle according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings. Gooch originally committed to Auburn in April.
Gooch is one of the candidates to get a major ratings bump in the next update. He looks the part, and he stands out on tape from basically everyone else on the field. There’s some questions about competition because of this, but he is dominating like he’s supposed to.
He’s a mean run blocker that makes sure whoever goes up against him is totally wiped from the play. It’s encouraging to watch his motor on these types of plays. The pass blocking is a mixed bag. On one hand, he is a brick wall when it comes to opposing linemen attempting to overpower him. He just doesn’t lose those battles. Sometimes it doesn’t even require him to move his feet.
On the other hand, it looks less natural than his run blocking, and he has slow feet on more than a few plays. I don’t think it’s a matter of talent—I think it’s a matter of coaching and reps. Gooch has clips as a defensive linemen, and in those he looks quicker on his feet than you’d expect from someone who is 350 pounds. So the ability is there.
In fact, there’s a real chance that Gooch switches to defensive line in the future. He’d be a bigger project on that side of the ball but he also looks more explosive than he does on offense. The motor remains consistent as well. He reminds me of Jay Hardy from the previous cycle.
How this affects Tennessee’s offensive tackle board is unknown. We know they are in the race for 3-star William Parker out of Nashville, as well as 5-star Amarius Mims from Georgia. Rumors surrounding 4-star Rod Orr from Alabama mean he has slid down the board and is likely not a realistic option at this point.
Was Gooch a replacement for Orr? It’s not likely, since Tennessee had been communicating with Gooch for a while before this commitment. But they may have given him the green light due to other situations popping up.
Either way, no one is going to complain about getting more quality depth at the tackle position. Gooch is the second tackle commit in the class behind 3-star Colby Smith out of North Carolina.