Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Samuels and Stacy are Vanderbilt freshmen with best chance to crack the opening day depth chart

So Bobby Johnson has to draw up a depth chart here pretty soon. I expect it'll contain the word "or" a lot. As in, "Larry Smith OR Mackenzi Adams" at starting quarterback. And "Eric Hensley OR Reilly Lauer" at right guard. And "Kyle Fischer OR Ryan Custer" at left guard. And "Kennard Reeves OR Zac Stacy" at backup tailback.

Of course, you don't have to be on the depth chart to be a major part of a team's plans. Just look at what happened to Herschel Walker, who was nowhere to be seen on the opening day depth chart as a Georgia Bulldog freshman, and three hours later he was a Heisman trophy candidate.

Anyway, here's what we're hearing about each of the true freshmen, which probably isn't much different from what you're hearing, but let us know if it is:


• Eric Samuels, CB: Has had a solid preseason and has a good shot of starting the season second-team at cornerback. Will play right away.

• Zac Stacy, RB: Brings a quickness and change of direction that the other backs lack and can score from anywhere. Can also block and pick up the blitz, which is a huge plus. May or may not be on the preseason depth chart but will play right away.


• Eddie Foster, CB: He's made some big plays, including a pick or two, in the secondary and is considered to be the fastest man on the team. He's still a little light, but with Vandy's lack of secondary depth, he may start the season on the depth chart, especially if Jamie Graham is listed as a starter at nickel back instead of a backup corner, or at least find himself there soon.

• Trey Wilson, CB: Dropped a bed on his toe moving into his dorm and only started practicing yesterday. Still, he wowed coaches with his athleticism and could play early this season. But he's off to an awfully slow start and he won't begin on the depth chart.

• Warren Norman, RB: Figured to be the only frosh RB to redshirt, but has torn it up in the preseason. Won't be on the preseason depth chart but could see the field in the opener.

• Brady Brown, WR: Nobody's talking about Brown, who was considered to be the most likely of the true frosh to play right away. With Turner Wimberly stepping up in the preseason, don't expect to see Brown on the depth chart. But with Vandy's problems at receiver, Brown's got to be getting a good look, and he could be a major contributor by season's end.


• Wesley Tate, RB: Has shown the ability to be a durable, every-down back, but hasn't turned heads like Stacy and Norman have. With Kennard Reeves and Jermaine Doster playing well, Tate won't be on the depth chart and may redshirt unless the backfield gets hit by injuries.

• Collin Ashley, WR: A quiet preseason, though he's looked solid as a punt returner. Won't be on the depth chart early, but everybody who can catch a pass may get a look before the season's over.

• Mason Johnston, TE: Has had a quiet preseason so far and won't be on the depth chart. But with Justin Green moving to receiver, he could get a look this season at tight end, especially if Barden or Monahan become injured.

• Javon Marshall, DB: Another guy who's had a quiet preseason. With Vandy's lack of depth in the secondary, I wouldn't dismiss the possibility he'll play this season, but he won't start the season on the depth chart.

• Jay Fullam, S: After he hurt his hand and will miss at least a month getting hand surgery, Bobby Johnson said he would have played this year. Could still see time later this season but will likely redshirt.


• Mylon Brown, OL: Has had a quiet preseason — but who on the offensive line doesn't? Our guess here is that Brown will redshirt, especially with a bunch of veterans and three redshirt freshmen.

• Justin Cabbagestalk, OL: He's suspended from playing this season, which doesn't matter much, at least on paper, because he was going to redshirt anyway.

• Charlie Goro, QB: Has made some nice throws in practice, but will almost certainly redshirt.

• Wesley Johnson, OL: Hasn't left the training table yet. Johnson should figure as a possible O-line starter next season... when he's 40 pounds heavier.

• Thad McHaney, DE: Has had some big hits in the preseason and looks like a player. But with so much depth at end, he's a lock to redshirt, even with Steven Stone's injury.

• Walker May, DE: A quiet preseason. He's another guy who'll be taking a redshirt and packing on the pounds.

• Blake Southerland, LB: A quiet preseason, which doesn't matter because there's plenty of depth at linebacker. If DeAndre Jones and Tristan Strong redshirted last year, then Southerland will certainly redshirt this year.

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