Saturday, August 28, 2010

Who's hot and who's not: Vanderbilt freshmen a week before opening day

With a bunch of true freshmen competing to play right away, we thought we’d look at whose stock has risen and fallen since signing day:

• James Kittredge, OL: A defensive lineman considered a lock to redshirt, Kittredge instead was moved to offensive line and has been a revelation, giving fifth-year center Joey Bailey a run for his money; look for him in the seven-man playing rotation
• Jordan Matthews, WR: While recognized as a talent, we thought he’d take a while to develop; instead, he’s been impressive in camp and is competing for a starting position
• Logan Stewart, OL: Considered a likely redshirt with an outside shot to play, Stewart has been a pleasant surprise at guard and center and could even crack the seven-man playing rotation on the O-line
• Andre Simmons, S: Considered a fine talent who might get lost in the shuffle early, Simmons instead has had a great camp and has appeared to have won the backup strong safety job over sophomore Al Owens

• Steven Clarke, CB/RB: The least regarded of the freshman DBs, Clarke has wowed coaches with his athleticism in the preseason and has been moved to offense as an emergency running back; he looks good there and just might stay
• Fitz Lassing, TE: A local boy who got Vandy’s last scholarship, Lassing was considered a sure-fire redshirt but instead is pushing redshirt freshman Mason Johnston hard to back up Brandon Barden.
• Andre Hal, CB: Expected to compete despite being a bit light at 170. With Warren Norman injured, he’ll likely return kicks Saturday and could be the first Commodore to touch the football in 2010. Will also see some time at corner.
• Karl Butler, DB: Expected to compete for playing time and possibly avoid a redshirt; he arrived at camp packing an extra 10 pounds of muscle and has established himself as a wicked hitter and likely special teams stalwart
• Chase Garnham, LB: A speedster expected to redshirt; that may still happen, but he’s been impressive in the preseason and just may find a way to get on the field.
• Kenny Ladler, FS: Expected to play right away and compete with a bunch of guys at safety, he’s emerged as the top backup to Jay Fullam

• Jonathan Krause, WR: We expected him to play right away and to compete for a starting job, and he’s doing just that.
• Chris Boyd, WR: Expected to face some growing pains but to be needed right away, and that’s the case today
• Carey Spear, K: Has apparently won the kickoff job, as expected, and has pushed Ryan Fowler throughout camp to improve his field goal kicking
• Jared Morse, DT: Expected to push the returnees at tackle, provide a talent upgrade but not necessarily avoid a redshirt, and that’s exactly where he stands right now
• Chase White, OL: Expected to redshirt, he’s gotten a ton of reps in preseason because of injuries and just may see the field
• Thomas Ryan, DE: A nice prospect expected to redshirt, and that’s exactly what seems to happening so far.
• Andrew Bridges, OL: Expected to take a year to gain weight and experience, Bridges is still on that plan as long as nobody else gets injured on the line.
• Andrew East, LB: A late signee who’s best known as a longsnapper, East has had a quiet camp and should redshirt.

• Jordan Rodgers, QB: Expected to push Larry Smith at quarterback, he’s instead struggled with injury and is a candidate to redshirt.
• Vince Taylor, DT: Appeared to have a good shot at cracking the depth chart at tackle, but is facing a challenge from a bunch of sophomores and fellow frosh Jared Morse
• Grant Ramsay, OL: With lots of injuries and plenty of opportunities, Ramsay was expected to be the top freshman lineman and play right away; while he could still get on the field and may be listed as second-team, he’s been outplayed by James Kittredge and Logan Stewart.
• Kyle Woestmann, DE: Came into camp with plenty of talent and confidence, but he’s been overshadowed so far in a crowded field at end
• Blake Gowder, TE: Was expected to redshirt unless another tight end was injured; after Austin Monahan was lost in the preseason, Gowder was overshadowed by Fitz Lassing, the last recruit to be offered a scholarship on signing day
• Trent Pruitt, WR: Not as talented as the other true frosh receivers, but considered to be more polished and game-ready; instead, he’s headed for a redshirt


Anonymous said...

Gowder had an AC separation of his right shoulder 2 weeks ago and has been held out of practice since that time.


Good to know. I wish the media and athletic department would do a better job of telling us stuff like this. When I heard Lassing was working with the first team I immediately wondered about Gowder. Thanks for the update.