Friday, June 12, 2009

Who cares if Chase White of Plano West, Texas, has only one star? Not me

You may have heard by now that Vanderbilt just got a verbal from Chase White of Plano West High in Texas. As far as commitments go, this one won't send you out dancing in the streets or tempt you to taunt a Vols fan. hasn't rated him yet, ESPN says he doesn't project well at the BCS level and has given him one star. These sites can't even agree on his height and weight. Scouts has him at 6-foot-5.5 and 255 pounds, Rivals has him at 6-3, 275, and ESPN has him at 6-4, 255. Who knows? — we're rounding up and going with 6-6, 280.

All this uncertainty is fine with me. Johnson and his staff wouldn't have offered White a scholarship if he couldn't play, and it'll be interesting to see how many stars he ends up with at the end of his senior year. Johnson's shown a knack for getting guys who fly under the radar. Chris Williams, a two-star high school player but future NFL first-rounder, is the poster boy for this. Patrick Benoist, another two-star guy but now a captain and the heart and soul of our defensive, is another one.

Remember Eric Samuels? He's a rising true freshman who should see playing time immediately. This time last year, he had no substantial scholarship offers, no star rating, no fawning press, nothing. And he played for a pretty lousy team. Also about this time, Vandy offered him a scholarship and he jumped on it. And by the time his senior season was over, Samuels had three stars and a bunch of teams wishing they'd had Vandy's foresight, and Samuels was the kind of kid who wasn't going to jump ship after he made a commitment. Oh, and now he's considered by many, including, as the gem of Bobby's best recruiting class ever. Remember all those star running backs we signed? By the time he signed with us, Samuels was rated higher than any of them at running back, though Johnson, who has an eye for DBs, likes him on defense.

Anyway, we won't know anything about any of these guys, including all the big-shot kids signing with Tennessee, until they get on the field. I for one am a believer in Johnson's system, which seems to be "steady wins the race." He started painfully slow but he's now built a talent base. In a lot of ways, he's doing what NFL teams do, drafting guys you've never heard of, drafting stars from lousy teams and role players from great teams. Oh, and they're usually a little bit too light but with big frames (Broderick Stewart was 190 when he signed with us, Thomas Welch has gained about 80 pounds, etc.) so he redshirts everybody but a few of the wide receivers and defensive backs and then he lets his outstanding strength coach and nutrition coach (yes, nutrition coach) work their magic.

So we'll see about Mr. White of Plano West. But I'm not worried about him.


Aaron said...

Interestingly Chase White got better over night. On ESPN his rating grade went up from 63 to 70 over night.


Yes, very interesting. And Grant Ramsay, an offensive lineman who committed to us earlier, was a 40 (unevaluated) by espn the day we got him and a 77 two days later.