Here’s a look at guys who’ll be on the Vandy roster this season but have never played in a game, as well as their chances for playing time in 2010:
Newcomers: R-FR Charlie Goro and JR Jordan Rodgers
Wanted: Somebody to push starter Larry Smith to get better, and to replace him if he gets injured or falters.
Other competition: R-SR Jared Funk, who has played but never thrown a pass in a game. Best bet: Vandy will try to redshirt Rodgers, who will travel with the team. Goro starts the season at No. 3 but gets some big-game experience in running situations and will leap-frog Funk if a replacement is needed for Smith.
Newcomer: R-FR Wesley Tate
Wanted: A big back to get some tough yards and to wear down opposing defenses, and to free up the multi-talented Norman and Stacy.
Other competition: R-SR Kennard Reeves
Best bet: Reeves is a battering ram who’ll get the nod early, but Tate is also a breakaway threat who’ll see more and more big-game action as the season progresses.
Newcomers: FR Chris Boyd, FR Jonathan Krause, FR Jordan Matthews, FR Trent Pruitt
Wanted: A third starter alongside John Cole and Udom Umoh, and ideally somebody to unseat Udom Umoh, who is limited as a deep threat. Also, some slot and possession guys who can separate from DBs and make the tough catch.
Other competition: SO Brady Brown, R-SO Akeem Dunham, R-JR Tray Herndon, R-SR Turner Wimberly
Best bet: All four freshmen will play. Krause will dazzle in training camp and eventually take Umoh’s starting job, while Boyd will share time with Brown as the team’s third receiver. Matthews will be an immediate improvement over Akeem Dunham and will be in the game day rotation by midseason, and Pruitt will occasionally spell Cole in the slot, filling the backup role of the departed Colin Ashley.
Newcomers: FR Blake Gowder, R-FR Mason Johnston, FR Fitz Lassing
Wanted: A third tight end behind Brandon Barden and Austin Monahan, especially if the oft-injured Monahan gets hurt again.
Other competition: R-JR Ryan van Rensburg
Best bet: Johnston is a highly regarded prospect who’ll get some big-game snaps even if Monahan stays healthy. While van Rensburg filled in admirably last season, he’s really a fullback who’ll get most of his action on special teams. Gowder and Lassing will redshirt, with Lassing concentrating on linebacker.
Newcomers: FR Andrew Bridges, R-FR Mylon Brown, R-SO Jabo Burrow, R-FR Justin Cabbagestalk, R-FR Wesley Johnson, FR Grant Ramsay, FR Logan Stewart, FR Chase White
Wanted: At least one starter at guard, somebody to push Caleb Welchans at starting right tackle, and at least three more guys to play during big games.
Other competition: R-SR Chris Aaron, R-JR Rob Ashabranner
Best bet: Expect Johnson to start at guard, Brown to eventually contend for a starting job at tackle, and valuable depth to come from Burrow, Cabbagestalk and true freshman Ramsay. Bridges, White and Stewart will redshirt, with Stewart traveling with the team and ready to play in a pinch.
Newcomers: FR James Kittredge, R-SO Taylor Loftley, FR Jared Morse, FR Vince Taylor
Wanted: A starter alongside T.J. Greenstone, to replace the injured Adam Smotherman, who’s recovering from a torn ACL, as well as another tackle or two to round out the game-day rotation
Other competition: R-SO Rob Lohr, R-SO Colt Nichter
Best bet: Lohr will likely be the opening day starter, but expect Taylor to grab his spot early in the season and then be a force in the rotation when Smotherman returns. Kittredge and Morse are also talent upgrades, and they’ll travel with the team, but expect the coaches to try to make do with Lohr, Nichter and Loftley, who hasn’t played yet but could be a surprise this season.
Newcomers: R-FR Thad McHaney, R-FR Walker May, FR Thomas Ryan, FR Kyle Woestmann
Wanted: Talent upgrades to challenge the three upperclassmen – Tim Fugger, Teriall Brannon and Theron Kadri.
Contenders: R-SO Josh Jelesky, R-SO Johnell Thomas
Best bet: May looked sensational in the spring and will be starting by midseason, and Woestmann will make a big impression in preseason and will force coaches to think about moving the highly regarded McHaney to another position. Ryan will redshirt and put on some more weight.
Newcomers: FR Andrew East, FR Chase Garnham, FR Fitz Lassing, R-FR Blake Southerland
Wanted: Somebody to play special teams, learn the ropes, and be ready for big-game duty in a couple of seasons. Meanwhile, an All-American candidate, a senior, and five redshirt sophomores will grab all the playing time.
Best bet: Southerland will turn some heads on special teams and see a few snaps in big games, while East, Garnham and Lassing will surely redshirt, unless the special-teams coaches decide to go ahead and use East as their longsnapper.
Newcomers: FR Karl Butler, FR Steven Clarke, FR Andre Hal, R-FR Javon Marshall
Wanted: Somebody to play nickel and spell starters Jamie Graham and Casey Hayward
Contenders: SO Eddie Foster, SO Eric Samuels, SO Trey Wilson
Best bet: Nobody will get the upper hand early against the three talented sophomores, but Marshall will become a serious option at nickel, while Butler and Hal will become special teams stars and solid backups, Butler because of his size and versatility and Hal because of his punt return and man-to-man cover skills. Expect Clarke to redshirt.
Newcomers: R-FR Jay Fullam, FR Kenny Ladler, FR Andre Simmons
Wanted: A starter at free safety, as well as a solid backup.
Contenders: R-SO Al Owens, R-SO Micah Powell
Best bet: Fullam had a great spring and will start at free safety alongside Sean Richardson, while Ladler will capitalize on his early enrollment and spring experience with the team to avoid a redshirt and see some serious action. With corner Karl Butler able to fill in at safety, expect Simmons to redshirt.
Newcomer: FR Carey Spear
Wanted: Somebody to back up starter Ryan Fowler and possibly even take his place on kickoffs and long field goals.
Best bet: Spear, who’s got a big leg, will quickly grab kickoff duties from Fowler, who’ll continue to boot PATs and routine field goals
Newcomers: R-SO Richard Kent, FR Carey Spear
Wanted: A starting punter
Best bet: Walk-on Kent is penciled in as the starter, but expect Spear to grab the job this season.