Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vanderbilt recruiting reaping benefits of seven-win season

Right after signing day in February, everybody wanted to know how winning seven games, finishing in the top half of the SEC and being Music City Bowl champions had helped Vanderbilt's recruiting.

Bobby Johnson's answer? Ask me next year.

He meant that while Vandy's strong finish in 2008 helped him grab some late commitments and make the 2009 signing class his best yet, he believed that the team's 2008 success would have an even bigger impact on the 2010 signing class.

In other words, it takes two years for gridiron success to translate into recruiting success.

And so far, he's exactly right. It's still June and Vandy has verbal commitments from 10 players. This time last year? We had commitments from only three recruits.

Here's a quick analysis of each of the last seven signing classes, including the current one:

2004 CLASS
Vandy records: 2-10 (0-8 SEC) in 2002, 2-10 (1-7) in 2003
Verbal commitments:
• June and earlier: 0
• July-August: 3
• September-October: 3
• November-December: 4
• January-February: 7
Summary: Two terrible seasons meant only three commitments before the season started and the majority of recruits committing after the season was over.

2005 CLASS
Vandy records: 2-10 (1-7) in 2003 and 2-9 (1-7) in 2004
Verbal commitments:
• June and earlier: 1
• July-August: 0
• September-October: 1
• November-December: 10
• January-February: 12
Summary: Vandy needed a big class, but another two-loss season meant it had to scrape together 22 out of 24 recruits at the end of the 2004 season.

2006 CLASS
Vandy records: 2-9 (1-7) in 2004 and 5-6 (3-5) in 2005
Verbal commitments:
• June and earlier: 4
• July-August: 3
• September-October: 0
• November-December: 9
• January-February: 8
Summary: After yet another two-win season, Bobby Johnson and company hit the trail hard and somehow had seven recruits before the start of the season. Jay Cutler's arm and the upset of UT helped the team land another 17 recruits before the next season started, but the real payoff would be the following year...

2007 CLASS
Vandy records: 5-6 (3-5) in 2005 and 4-8 (1-7) in 2006
Verbal commitments:
• June and earlier: 6
• July-August: 3
• September-October: 0
• November-December: 3
• January-February: 1
Summary: Following the theory that a team benefits most two seasons later, Johnson landed nine recruits in the summer after Cutler's senior season and the UT victory. After a disappointing finish in 2007, Vandy closed with four recruits.

2008 CLASS
Vandy records: 4-8 (1-7) in 2006 and 5-7 (2-6) in 2007
Verbal commitments:
• June and earlier: 5
• July-August: 5
• September-October: 0
• November-December: 2
• January-February: 9
Summary: While Vanderbilt staggered a bit in 2006, Johnson's signature victory over Georgia that season and the buzz that the talent level was improving helped him garner 10 commitments by the end of the summer. After his big victory over Steve Spurrier and another narrow miss at six wins and a bowl, Johnson landed 11 more players.

2009 CLASS
Vandy records: 5-7 (2-6) in 2007 and 7-6 (4-4) in 2008
Verbal commitments:
• June and earlier: 3
• July-August: 7
• September-October: 0
• November-December: 2
• January-February: 6
Summary: More proof that sustained improvement over two seasons helps a school start and finish strong on the recruiting trail. An encouraging 5-win season helped Vandy land 10 recruits by the end of the the summer, two before the bowl, and another 6 players, five of them three-star recruits, after the bowl victory.

2010 CLASS
Vandy records: 7-6 (4-4) in 2008
Verbal commitments:
• June and earlier: 10
Summary: Exactly what Johnson was talking about on the last signing day. Summer's just starting, and he's already got commitments from 10 players, four more than he got after Cutler's senior season. If Vanderbilt can build on last season's success on the gridiron, then Johnson will land more talented players, even some four-star guys, between the end of the season and signing day.


Anonymous said...

A good analysis of the progress. Thanks.


You bet. Thanks for reading. DKH