Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I don't care about Nash Nance
In the summer, Vanderbilt offered scholarships to a bunch of quarterbacks. As fate would have it, the lowest rated of the bunch, Nash Nance, jumped at the chance and announced he would be a Commodore. So Bobby Johnson told Nash that he was Vandy's man, and the head coach called all those higher rated prospects and told them that he had one scholarship to give to a quarterback and Nash Nance had taken it.
That was the summer. Larry Smith was anointed the quarterback of the future, Mackenzi Adams was the most experienced backup in the SEC, Jared Funk was still being touted by some fans as the best passer of the bunch and Charlie Goro was getting fitted for his red shirt.
Fast forward to the end of the year. Smith had a miserable season, starting with butter-fingered receivers and devolving into a broken-down offensive line, a bunch of bad decisions, interceptions and general bewilderment, and finally a torn hamstring.
So with Larry on shaky ground, Adams gone, Funk entering his fifth season without throwing a single pass, Goro with his entire career ahead of him and Nash still playing high school football, Johnson did a smart thing: He grabbed Jordan Rodgers, a junior college quarterback headed to Kansas but suddenly available when Mark Mangino got fired.
Rodgers won't necessarily beat out Larry, but the way we sacrifice our quarterbacks to opposing defenses, we're dang sure going to need more than one quarterback with game experience going into next season. (And for all you Funk fans, playing on the punt coverage team does not qualify as game experience when you're on the roster as a quarterback.) Rodgers just won a junior college national championship.
Now Nance is on a road show with Da'Rick Rogers, the five-star receiver and family friend who helped him rack up such huge numbers this season. Rogers has committed to Georgia, which, tellingly, has still not offered a scholarship to Nance. So now Rogers is visiting schools that are also willing to take a look at Nance. Schools like Tennessee. And still, schools in Nance's backyard, including UGA and Georgia Tech, aren't biting. And to read the comments on AJC.com stories, fans of those schools who've seen Nance play don't want him either.
Meanwhile, Nance says he's committed to Vanderbilt... kinda sorta maybe. “I just want to take my visits and make sure I’m making the right decision,” he told the AJC, adding that he feels blessed to suddenly have so many opportunities.
But he's also telling people that Bobby Johnson went back on his word. The AJC writes: "Nance was assured by coach Bobby Johnson and staff that he was going to be the only quarterback taken. But the Commodores have since signed junior college transfer Jordan Rodgers, the younger brother of NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers."
Give me a break. Johnson undoubtedly meant that Nance would be the only high school quarterback taken, which means Nash would get the chance, as a redshirt sophomore, to replace Larry Smith as the starting quarterback. And Johnson kept his word by calling quarterbacks like Sean Robinson, Robert Bolden and Devin Burns — all rated higher than Nance — and telling them Nance would be his quarterback for this class. Rodgers is just insurance, and if he is an effective quarterback then he'll play next season and he'll graduate when Larry graduates. And then Nash can get his shot, if Charlie Goro hasn't already stolen the job from everybody by then.
So I don't care about Nance. He's not going to be Vandy's starting quarterback within the next two years anyway. If UT wants to take him in a package deal with Da'Rick Rogers, they should go right ahead and do it. And if you're wondering why Nance's five-star buddy can't play for Vanderbilt, well, it's because he couldn't go to school at Vanderbilt. But that won't be a problem at UT.
We can get a quarterback at least as good or better than Nance in next year's class. And I wouldn't be surprised if we've got a backup plan like Tyler Arndt, one of the kids who had a Vandy offer until Nance "committed" to Vanderbilt; Arndt still hasn't made a commitment, but has offers from TCU, Missouri, Houston and Rice.
Maybe Nance will choose Vandy after all, and maybe he'll be a superstar for us. Of course, I'll care about him then.
But right now, I just don't care.