KNOXVILLE – Butch Jones’ strategy of recruiting early and inside the state of Tennessee continued on Saturday.

The Vols picked up a commitment from 2016 defensive lineman Emmit Gooden on Saturday afternoon. He pledged to the Vols while making an on-campus visit, multiple recruiting sites have reported.

The native of Brownsville, Tenn., gives UT its third in-state commitment for the 2016 cycle, joining tight end Darel Middleton of Powell and ‘athlete’ Dorian Banks of Sevierville.

Gooden, the younger brother of NBA player Jarvis Varnado, already measures in around 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds during his sophomore year in high school. Recruiting sites project him as an end at this point, though he could easily grow into an interior player by 2016.


Gooden received an offer from Penn State earlier this week and is also receiving strong interest from Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, LSU and others.

Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee athletics for Follow him on Twitter@DanielNooga