Rumors are brewing out of Knoxville that James Stone, Da'Rick Rogers and Nash Nance are about to commit to the Vols.
Tennessee has always gotten recruits with more stars than Vandy, and it always will. When Vandy topples big programs like UT on the gridiron, it's because we identified, developed and coached up raw talent.
What bothers Vandy fans is that the Dores could have realistically signed two of those three guys:
• James Stone, a four-star offensive tackle out of Maplewood, Tenn.: Narrowed his choices to Alabama, Auburn and Vandy, and didn't consider Tennessee because he apparently didn't like Lane Kiffin. (Stone must be a smart fellow.) But he likes Derrick Dooley and he likes the idea of playing in his home state.
• Nash Nance, a three/two-star quarterback from Calhoun, Ga.: Committed to Vandy in the summer over Miss State, Harvard and, ahem, Chattanooga. But padded his stats throwing to his buddy Da'Rick, and now he's trying to ride Da'Rick's coattails to a bigger SEC school. Heck, in exchange for the big-time Da'Rick, the Vols will be happy to let Nance play the clipboard-holding role formerly occupied by Jim Bob Cooter. To feel better about breaking his word, Nash is telling the Atlanta paper that Bobby Johnson broke his word by signing JUCO Jordan Rodgers, who will have graduated before Nash would have even smelled playing time at Vandy.
• Da'Rick Rogers, a five-star wide receiver from Calhoun, Ga.: Committed to Georgia in the summer, but was courted by Kiffin, who was willing to give Nance a scholarship to get Da'Rick. Rogers apparently doesn't have the classroom skillz to hang at Vandy.
Before you start whining, consider that we've never signed gigantic, four-star ready-to-play offensive tackles. Stone was our best chance, but nobody's surprised he wanted to play in a stadium that seats more than 40,000 people.
Nance wanted to play in the SEC but didn't want to live in Starkville. He lacks arm strength and has received no interest from Georgia, Georgia Tech or any of the fans of those schools. Guys like Jeff Lockridge of the Tennessean are acting like the fate of the Commodores hangs in Nash's hands. Don't believe it for a second. Lockridge says if Nance reneges we've got one quarterback, Charlie Goro, in three classes (freshman, redshirt freshman and sophomore). That's two classes. A freshman gets to stay in the freshman class for two years if he redshirts. We're not crying about losing a year from Warren Norman and Zac Stacy because they played as true freshmen and skipped their redshirt freshman class.
(Lockridge also says we can't afford to lose Sharrod Golightly to South Carolina. Yes, we can use all the safeties we can get, but with Kenneth Ladler already enrolled, Andre Simmons on the way and Jay Fullam and Javon Marshall coming off redshirt seasons, a Golightly defection wouldn't be the end of the world. But for the record, I think Lockridge does a pretty good job on the Vandy beat.)
Sure, we've had more available quarterbacks over the past few years because we've had Jared Funk, but how exactly has that helped us? We could find somebody else to cover punts. And Funk was a higher rated quarterback out of high school than Nash Nance. I'd rather wait and find somebody who can contribute AND who wants to be here. We've got time. Consider our situation for the next two seasons:
2010: Larry Smith, Aaron I MEAN JORDAN Rodgers, Jared Funk, Charlie Goro
2011: Larry Smith, Aaron I MEAN JORDAN Rodgers, Charlie Goro, good recruit who wants to be here
2012: Charlie Goro, good redshirt freshman who wants to be here, good recruit who wants to be here
We don't need five quarterbacks next season. We've got 2010 covered, which gives us time to get a special quarterback for the 2011 class, and I guarantee you the coaching staff has already started working on that.