KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee senior defensive lineman Emmit Gooden will be out for the season with a torn ACL, head coach Jeremy Pruitt announced at a press conference on Wednesday.
Gooden suffered the injury in practice on Tuesday. It's a particularly difficult one for the Vols since they have to replace every starter on the D-line from the 2018 season. What's next for the position group? Pruitt said the unit will need to get more reps and playing time.
"They all have strengths and weaknesses, but most of them have very limited game experience," said Pruitt.
Gooden is the only senior on the defensive line (Ja'Quain Blakely and Dawson Stephens are redshirt juniors). A transfer from Independence Community College, Gooden finished last season with 33 tackles, one sack and seven tackles for loss. He ranked third on the team in tackles for loss last season, behind only Darrell Taylor and Kyle Phillips. He was expected to play a big role in the trenches for Tennessee this year.
Pruitt expects Gooden to be back for the 2020 season as a redshirt senior.
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With this injury, the eligibility of Michigan transfer Aubrey Solomon is all the more important. Tennessee is still waiting to hear from the NCAA on his official status.