KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee’s Emmit Gooden will miss the entire season with a knee injury, leaving the Volunteers without their most experienced player on a defensive line that has no returning starters.
Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt says Gooden tore his anterior cruciate ligament Tuesday and will undergo surgery next week. Pruitt also says that offensive lineman Nathan Niehaus has left the team.
Gooden, a senior from Brownsville, Tennessee, made one start and appeared in all 12 games for Tennessee last year while making 33 tackles. His seven tackles for loss matched the second-highest total on the team, behind only outside linebacker Darrell Taylor’s 11.
The defensive line shaped up as one of Tennessee’s biggest concerns even before Gooden’s injury. Gooden is the only Tennessee defensive lineman who has made any career starts for the Vols.