Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Highlights from Bobby Johnson's post-signing press conference

In his press conference today, Vanderbilt Coach Bobby Johnson said this year's recruiting haul met some priorities for the team at defensive back, offensive line and running back. "Offensive linemen were extremely important for us," he said.

He said he thinks the bowl berth and victory will help more with next year's recruiting, which will start this spring. Most of this year's class — 12 out of 17 — had already signed before Vanderbilt went on its 5-0 tear to start the 2008 season.

More juniors are already inquiring about the Vanderbilt program, he said: "They’re quicker to call in here and ask for information or set up unofficial visits, inquire about camp — all those are great indications that the bowl has helped a great deal, the season has helped a great deal, and our success in the SEC has helped a great deal.

He used recruits Trey Wilson and Eric Samuels as examples of "the kind of guys you have to recruit to compete in the SEC."

On signing Wesley Tate, Warren Norman and Zac Stacy, he said, "We probably didn’t need three tailbacks but we had an opportunity to sign three very good ones so we took advantage of it. All three of them are very versatile — they could probably play someplace else. But as history has shown us, we're gonna probably need all three of them at tailback — it’s a tough position to play in the SEC, you get hit a lot.

What's the significance of getting 12 players with 3-star ratings? "Not much with me. I think all of them have 5-star capabilities. A lot of guys come out of high school and never get better and a lot of guys come out of high school and improve a great deal and I think we probably have a bigger history of guys coming out and getting better here and thriving in our system and taking advantage of the coaching they get here and they get better. We’re looking for the stars when they get here."

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