Saturday, September 5, 2009

Five true freshmen headline list of players whose stock has jumped highest since preseason

A couple of weeks ago, we ranked the top 75 Vanderbilt football players going into preseason camp. So with kickoff about 90 minutes away, whose stock has jumped since preseason practice and whose stock has slid?


1. RB Zac Stacy: The true freshman wasn't as hyped as fellow tailback Wesley Tate, but Stacy's the one starting tonight.

2. RB Warren Norman: Considered the most likely tailback to redshirt, Norman is now second on the depth chart in a crowded field and nearly was the opening day starter.

3. CB Eddie Foster: Considered too light to play right away, the speedster has shined in the preseason.

4. CB Eric Samuels: The true freshman most likely to play right away, Samuels has met expectations and will likely be the first substitution in the secondary.

5. CB Trey Wilson: Slow start after dropping a bed on his toe moving into his dorm, but the true freshman has recovered and is too good to keep on the bench.

6. OL Caleb Welchans: With a good preseason, this redshirt freshman came out of nowhere to bump several upperclassmen off the depth chart.

7. WR Akeem Dunham: Listed as third team after spring practice, the redshirt freshman has since beat out a couple of upperclassmen and made second team and is poised to climb further.

8. LB Tristan Strong: The redshirt freshman has distanced himself from fellow linebackers DeAndre Jones and Dexter Daniels in a crowded and talented field.

9. DE Tim Fugger: With Steven Stone injured, sophomore Fugger broke out of a crowded lineup and has become the temporary starter.

10. S Micah Powell: The redshirt freshman beat out fellow redshirt frosh Al Owens and a couple of true freshmen to make second team.

Honorable Mention: OT Ryan Seymour, LB Brent Trice, NB Jamie Graham, QB Larry Smith, WR Justin Green, DT Rob Lohr


1. LB Austin Newton: The four-year junior has played in a ton of games but his chance to start or even crack the two-deep has likely passed him by.

2. LB Chris Johnson: The graduate student in business will likely continue to be a special teams demon, but won't challenge for much playing time on defense.

3. RB Gaston Miller: The junior's strength has long been his shiftiness, but true freshmen Stacy and Norman are even shiftier and have likely forced him to focus on special teams, but he's no longer listed as the No. 1 punt returner.

4. RB Kennard Reeves: The backup tailback going into the preseason, he wasn't able to step up and step in as the starter for an injured Jared Hawkins, and now Stacy and Norman get first dibs.

5. FB Ryan van Rensburg: The former three-star running back appears slated for special teams and a small specialty role on offense.

6. QB Jared Funk: The four-year junior got lots of reps in the spring and preseason, but couldn't crack the lineup and now has possibly missed his only chance to ever get meaningful playing time as a Commodore.

7. DT Colt Nichter: Redshirt freshman still battling Rob Lohr and Taylor Loftley for the No. 4 slot in the defensive line rotation, but Lohr appears to be the man at the moment.

8. OL Reilly Lauer: Last year's starting left tackle lost his position to Thomas Welch, then moved to right tackle and lost that job to James Williams, then moved to right guard and lost that job to Eric Hensley.

9. LB DeAndre Jones: Still an exciting prospect, the redshirt freshman has seen fellow redshirt Tristan Strong jump ahead of him and earn a place on the opening day depth chart.

10. WR Turner Wimberly: The four-year junior has gotten a ton of reps at wide receiver in the spring and preseason and was preseason second team, but has since dropped off the depth chart.

Honorable Mention: WR Chris Reinert, LB Dexter Daniels, DT Taylor Loftley, S Al Owens

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