Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Blake Gowder, Andrew Bridges and maybe even Fitz Lassing will begin Vandy careers on offense

The official Vandy athletic site has released information about all the players who've signed with us. Great information, and you can even go back to the 2007 signing class to compare classes past and present.

I'm always interested to see where these guys are projected to play.

For example, last year Eric Samuels was listed by recruiting sites as a running back and Thad McHaney was a tight end. But on signing day, Vanderbilt listed Samuels as defensive back and McHaney as a defensive end, and that's where they played in pre-season camp and that's where they played last season, Samuels as a letterman on game day and McHaney as a redshirt on the scout team.

This year, Vandy's listing all of its swing players on offense, at least partially so:

• Blake Gowder (6-2, 210), TE/H-Back: Listed as an athlete and projected by many, including us, as too small to play tight end and too slow to play receiver but just right for linebacker, Gowder has apparently grown an inch or two. An accomplished receiver in high school with a ton of catches, yards and touchdowns, Gowder now has a chance to play right away as a receiving threat out of the backfield. He'd have surely redshirted as a linebacker.

• Andrew Bridges (6-6, 235), OL: Bridges was being projected at either DE or OT, and it looks like the Commodores will redshirt him and get him ready for the O-line. Remember that Reilly Lauer, Ryan Seymour and Jabo Burrow all spent at least a year at Vandy working as defensive ends before making the switch. Hopefully this will speed up Bridges' development at that position, but it'll take at least a redshirt year to get him up to weight.

• Fitz Lassing (6-3, 220), LB/TE: Lassing, a linebacker from the beginning, is also being listed at tight end. With Brandon Barden, Austin Monahan and now redshirt freshman Mason Johnston, and with Ryan van Rensburg and Blake Gowder able to play the position, Lassing will be a lock to redshirt no matter where he plays. That is, unless he emerges from pre-season camp as our best punter, but he's not listed as a punter.

• Carey Spear (5-11, 175), K/P: Spear has a great shot to at least handle kickoffs right away. He's also listed as a punter. The ideal situation, if Spear can quickly develop as a starting punter, is for Ryan Fowler to kick extra points and short-to-medium field goals and for Spear to kickoff, punt and boot the really long field goals. Walk-on Richard Kent may also get a chance to win the starting job.

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