Gooden, Williams pledges big-time for Arkansas

Published: Monday, June 19, 2017

— The significance of the past weekend for Arkansas football can’t be understated.

Not only did the Razorbacks have some 300 offensive and defensive linemen, kickers, punter and deep snappers on campus, but they also landed a much-needed piece for the present and a big one for the future.

The piece for the present came Friday night when former South Carolina graduate transfer tailback David Williams (6-1, 220) announced his pledge via Twitter. He will have immediate eligibility and replenishes a position that lost Rawleigh Williams III and Juan Day this spring.

The big get for the future was the Sunday commitment of Independence, Kan., Community College four-star defensive tackle Emmit Gooden (6-4, 320), who chose Arkansas over Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Tennessee, USC, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, Penn State, Louisville and a host of others.

Landing Gooden, the younger brother of former Mississippi State basketball star Jarvis Vanardo, was a huge get for Arkansas coach Bret Bielema and his staff.

“I liked the atmosphere and everything there and the way the coaches were with me,” Gooden said of Arkansas. “It just seemed like the perfect fit for me with coach B and everybody there.”

He enrolled in the fall of 2015 at Holmes, Miss., Community College – the same school from which Arkansas landed basketball star Daryl Macon – before ending up at Independence to play his freshman season in 2016.

Gooden, who had 55 tackles, 4 sacks and 2 forced fumbles for Independence as a freshman, fills a big need and is scheduled to graduate in December and arrive in Fayetteville in January.

Being able to go through off-season conditioning and spring practice will prepare him to make a big impact from day one of the 2018 season.

Gooden, who weighed 265 when he graduated from Brownsville, TN., in 2015, seems a perfect fit for the 3-4 defense that Arkansas is transitioning…

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