Saturday, December 11, 2010
Would Kiehl Frazier follow Gus Malzahn to Vanderbilt?
Will Gus Malzahn take the money and the Vanderbilt job? That's the big question right now.
But here's another question: If the answer to the above question is yes, then would Kiehl Frazier be coming to Vanderbilt?
Frazier is the fourth-best high school quarterback in the nation, a big strong guy who can run and throw. He's committed to Auburn, presumably to play for Malzahn, who coached at his high school Shiloh Christian in Springdale, Ark., before moving to Springdale HS.
Frazier is the perfect quarterback for Malzahn's offense, and as we all know because Vandy lost five of its best recruits this time last year, nothing's official until signing day in February.
If Frazier chose Auburn because of Malzahn, he could without question follow him to Vandy, provided he hasn't already taken $180,000 to come to Auburn.
Maybe James Franklin and Greg Roman will be better head coaches than Malzahn, though we wouldn't pay them $3 million to find out and I'd bet that Malzahn in his first year could do more with our current "talent" than those other guys could.
But the big difference would be in recruiting. Caldwell and friends have put together a remarkable class considering the uncertainty of the past six months, but as usual it's still the worst class in the SEC. Malzahn could change that.
If he took the job (Bobby Petrino has reportedly just signed a 7-year deal with Arkansas) and Frazier joined him, then Frazier would be Vanderbilt's highest rated recruit ever, by far. It would be an unbelievable coup for us, on par with getting Malzahn. He'd likely be the starting quarterback from Day One, and you'd probably see Larry Smith graciously accept a utility role similar to the one given to Auburn's Kodi Burns when Malzahn arrived in Auburn.
You could also see a couple of four-star wide receivers and maybe even a big running back jump ship to come to Vanderbilt. And while we're at it, we desperately need linebackers, as well as some SEC-sized linemen on both sides of the ball.
All of a sudden, guys like two-star running back Mitchell Hester, who's said he's not sure if he'll come to Vandy after all, may not even have the option.
And them's the breaks. We got Jordan Rodgers because Mark Mangino got fired at Kansas and new coach Turner Gill rescinded the Jayhawks' offer to Rodgers.
Malzahn would be keenly interested in his quarterbacks, and Vandy recruits Damien Fleming and Shaun White may or may not meet his standards.
Athlete Derrick King and offensive linemen James Lewis and Jake Bernstein are definite keepers, and so are running back J.J. Keels, tight end/defensive end Keith Heitzman and defensive end Conor Hart.
If Frazier didn't follow Malzahn to Nashville, then it wouldn't be the end of the world. When he arrived in Auburn Malzahn took Chris Todd, a senior quarterback and JUCO product coming off shoulder surgery and a confidence-shaking season, and got these results:
Todd before Malzahn: 86-156 (55.1%), 903 yards, 5 TDs, 6 INTs, 106.6 rating
Todd after Malzahn: 198-328 (60.4%), 2,612 yards, 22 TDs, 6 INTs, 145.7
At Vanderbilt, Malzahn would have a senior quarterback coming off another confidence-shaking season (Larry Smith) and a JUCO product coming off shoulder surgery (Jordan Rodgers).
He'd also have a bunch of all-purpose running backs in Norman, Stacy and Keels and a big, raw back in Wesley Tate. Oh, and a ton of young wide receivers. And an All-SEC tight end in Brandon Barden, and a couple of redshirt freshmen, Blake Gowder and Chris Boyd, with the potential to play H-back.
Hey, it's a start.
But without a doubt, getting Malzahn would give Vandy a huge initial boost that it wouldn't get from the other candidates.
With him, we're talking about which of our recruits are GOOD ENOUGH to play for Vandy.
Without him, we're talking about which of our recruits are WILLING to play for Vandy.
That's a big difference.