Sunday, February 1, 2009

Vanderbilt football fans shouldn't count on Darrius McMullin

Along with athlete Eric Samuels and offensive lineman Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt's top-ranked verbal commitment this recruiting season has been Darrius McMullin of Hoover, Ala.

Don't count on McMullin ever playing for the Commodores. In fact, his commitment has been shaky since the beginning.

• In June, he made a "soft" verbal commitment.

• In December, Urban the Conqueror came calling and McMullin told a reporter that he was going to make a visit to Florida and if the Gators offered him a scholarship he would take it. Vanderbilt coaches told him they'd have his scholarship waiting but they were going to be looking for some more D-linemen.

• On Jan. 16, McMullin made a visit to Kentucky.

• On Friday, Chris Low reported McMullin was deciding between the Wildcats and the Commodores and predicted that McMullin would choose the Dores.

• That same day, Mo Patton of the Tennessean wrote on his blog that McMullin was not accepted academically to Vanderbilt and is now deciding between Kentucky and UAB.

ESPN and still list McMullin as a Commodore.

I've been putting a mental asterick next to McMullin since this fall. Big D-lineman are gold — look what Mount Cody did for Bama and those two Boston College tackles did to us on third and short in the Music City Bowl. So valuable are guys like McMullin, who packs about 280 pounds on a 6-2 frame and benches 400 pounds, that an academic school like Vanderbilt is willing to take a chance on him... if he meets minimum requirements, which apparently he does not.

But we'll wait and see.

In the meantime, remember that Vanderbilt has SEVEN red-shirt freshmen D-linemen waiting in the wings: tackles Taylor Loftley, Rob Lohr, Colt Nichter, Ryan Seymour and Johnell Thomas and ends John Burrow and Josh Jelesky. Lohr and Nichter were both listed on the two-deep last season, but never got pressed into duty and were able to redshirt. Also remember that starting tackles Greg Billinger and Adam Smotherman return, as does backup T.J. Greenstone, who was an all-SEC freshman selection. As for ends, starters Brandon Stewart and Steven Stone return, as do part-time starters/ frequent backups Teriall Brannon, Theron Kadri and Tim Fugger.

We also plan to make commitment Thad McHaney a defensive end, and four-star end Michael Buchanan of Illinois is still considering us.

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