Gooden was born on August 31, 1990 in Austin, Texas. At Pflugerville High School, Gooden started at safety and running back. As a senior, he rushed for 1,128 yards and nine TDs. Defensively, he added two interceptions and a fumble recovery. He was named the district’s 2007 All-Purpose Player of the Year.
According to Rivals.com, Gooden was ranked as the 32nd-best safety prospect in the nation and the 56th-best player in the state of Texas.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI
Despite being recruited as a safety, Gooden was moved to linebacker while at Mizzou. In his first season as a starter during his sophomore season, Gooden led the team with 85 tackles. He added three sacks and 7.5 tackles for a loss on his way to being named All-Big 12 Conference honorable mention.
He was named a team captain as a senior. In 10 games at outside linebacker, Gooden finished the seasons with 61 tackles, four tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, and an interception. He finished his career with 20.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, and five interceptions.
Gooden’s 40-yard-dash time (4.47 seconds) was the fastest among linebackers at the 2013 NFL Combine and helped him get drafted by the Titans in the third round (97th overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft.
In the Titan’s defensive scheme, Gooden was moved to inside linebacker, but was used primarily on special teams as a rookie. He finished his first season with 13 tackles in nine games played (one start).
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