Netflix’s “Last Chance U” Star Emmit Gooden leads Seinäjoki Crocodiles into Maple Bowl Championship Game

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Emmit Gooden is. The former football documentary star is back on the field with his eyes on a new championship. After playing in Junior College and D1 in the SEC, Gooden is now a world away from home taking on the next episode in his football journey.

The former Junior College All-American joined the Seinäjoki Crocodiles this summer kickstarting his post-collegiate career in Finland’s Maple League. Gooden has been pleasantly surprised with the level of football and lifestyle he’s found abroad.

“It’s very different but it’s kinda like my hometown, but less noise. There are very friendly people and a lot to do outdoors. Great hiking and very peaceful. Football-wise, it’s been very physical. The receiver and quarterback play is good. It’s been a very good ball, it’s around a D2 feeling. 

Gooden has been a force since arriving in Seinäjoki. The former Netflix star has put up 49 tackles, 19.5 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, a blocked kick, and a glorious scoop and score. Gooden leads the league in tackles for a loss and is second in sacks, flashing the abilities that once made him a highly recruited prospect with over twenty scholarship offers.

Gooden’s on field dominance in Finland is no surprise as the Brownsville, Tennesse native is a former four-star high school prospect. After high school, Gooden starred in the Netflix series “Last Chance U” as a member of Independence Community College Pirates playing for head coach Jason Brown. Shining in the brightest lights of Juco ball, the 6’4 290-pound defensive tackle as an All American at totaling an impressive 81 tackles, six and half tackles for loss, and one sack as a sophomore.

Gooden on Netlfix’s Last Chance U – via @TheRealEmmitG93

A true impact transfer, he went on to start right away at the University of Tennessee (NCAA D1 SEC) recording 33 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, and one sack during his first year on campus. After missing the following season due to a knee injury, Gooden was dismissed from the Tennessee football team following some troubles with the law. He then finished his college career playing one season at Lincoln University (NCAA DII).

Gooden made is way to Finland after finishing up a journeyman college career that featured junior college, SEC, and division two. After so much uncertainty around the game he loves, he was excited to pursue football in a new light and land.

“Me being me, I love to travel and try something new. I thought it was a unique opportunity to go out of the country and ball ball for a team i really didn’t know much about.”

The long armed pass rusher has been a leader among a core of Seinäjoki defenders featuring Maple League all stars Jaska Varinen and Filip Zacok (Indiana State), along with mainstays line Saidou Jallow and Arthur Pinheiro. On offense, the Crocodiles have also put in time together as star running back Christian Powell (Colorado NCAA D1 FBS) enters his fifth season in Seinäjoki, and quarterback Zachary Whitehead is under center for a second year in a row.

“They’ve welcomed me in with open arms, they are very hard working guys, who know the game front to back. The Finnish guys are very family orientated. I’m extremely grateful to have an opportunity to come over here and lead.”

Tomorrow, Gooden and the Crocodiles face an undefeated Kuopio Steelers team looking to pull off a historic three-peat. Seinäjoki and their star defensive lineman hope to pull off the upset and bring the Maple Bowl home in the biggest game of the year.

“We are feeling good. We know what we are up against. A awesome running back and awesome offensive line. They are a great team as a whole. It’s gonna be a great game. I can’t wait.

Watch Gooden in the Maple Bowl tomorrow (9/10) at 16:00 CET 10:00 AM ET on AFI.TV

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football