Right now, Vandy has eight verbal commitments – o-lineman Gouger, d-back Head, linebackers Sealand and Herring, and defensive ends Griffin, Banks, Weatherly and Dawson.
This time last season, we had only one – tackle James Lewis, who’s about to start his Vandy career.
As you know last season’s class was a revolving door, with 13 recruits committed when James Franklin was hired, but that number quickly shrank to only six, with the following guys either jumping ship or being thrown overboard:
• WR Courtney Bynes to Western Michigan
• RB Marquis Sumler to Western Kentucky
• RB JJ Keels to South Alabama
• QB Shaun White to MTSU
• QB Damien Fleming to Florida A&M
• DE Keith Heitzman to Michigan
• OL Alex Barr to NC State
Looks like only the last two guys jumped ship as opposed to being thrown overboard. In retrospect, it’s unbelievable what Franklin did in such a short time:
• He held on to 80 percent of a solid offensive line class, keeping top recruits James Lewis and Jake Bernstein, as well as Spencer Pulley and Jose Valedon.
• He kept cornerback Derek King, who’d turned down offers to Auburn and UT.
• He replaced Bynes with athletes Jacquese Kirk, Jahmel McIntosh and Darrien Bryant.
• He replaced running backs Sumler and Keels with the more highly regarded Mitchell Hester and Jerron Seymour.
• He replaced quarterbacks White and Fleming with four-star Lafonte Thorougood, three-star Josh Grady, and raw talent Kris Kentera.
• He stole Thourogood from Virginia Tech, McIntosh from Memphis, four-star athlete Dillon van der Wal from Arizona State, and hulking defensive end Barron Dixon from Mississippi State.
• He also added a big Barden clone at tight end in Steven Scheu; an athletic safety, Larry Franklin; another big strong safety who could play LB, Andrew Williamson; a quick defensive end, Jimmy Stewart; and raw but versatile lineman Joe Townsend.
Not bad, huh?
We’re rumored to be getting a boatload more commitments any day now. It’ll be interesting to see what Franklin does with a full recruiting season.
And it’ll be interesting to see if some of our recruits jump ship when the season starts and the inevitable losses come while Franklin rebuilds. In 2009, after the bowl victory, we had 11 commitments by the end of June. Two of them, TE Davis Dudchock and QB Nash Nance, jumped ship.
Wonder how Nash likes carrying that orange clipboard? He’d better get used to it.