Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Jerrell Priester wisely jumps ship... and ranks second among Vandy ship-jumpers

Thanks to ’Bilt, Russ, Aaron and CAR for holding down the fort this morning. If you're wondering, the winning word in the spelling bee was "innocuous."

Let's hope the loss of Jerrell Priester will be innocuous. The thing that could hurt about losing Priester to Kentucky, Sharrod Golightly to South Carolina and Nash Nance to Tennessee is that we play each of those teams every year. So if they develop into dangerous players and play roles in our defeat, then it'll be like rubbing salt in a wound.

So far, everybody else we expected has signed his letter of commitment except. Fitz Lassing, who's probably still celebrating his Vandy offer from yesterday, signed about 20 minutes ago. No suspense there.

Don't think we'll sign anybody else. Quarterback Tyler Arndt has committed to Texas State and may choose professional baseball. Looks like QB Darren Daniel's sticking with Stanford and the big TE from Memphis is heading to Chapel Hill. No word yet on the lineman Joe Burgess from Missouri or even if we give a darn.

In all, we lost six players who'd verbally committed. That's a sign that we'd turned the corner as a program and lots of kids desire great academics, a cool city and playing in the SEC... until we won two games and then some of them started jumping ship. But guys have decommitted from places like Alabama and USC and Georgia. So who knows?

Anyway, Priester wasn't a big surprise. Remember we lost DT Darrius McMullin this time last year because of his academics. From what I'd heard, if Priester had committed to Vanderbilt and couldn't make an 18 on the ACT, which for him would have been a stretch, then he'd have been off to prep school. But if he committed to UK and bombed the ACT, well, who cares? Here's your helmet and there's Commonwealth Stadium. So he did the safe thing and even the smart thing and went with the Wildcats.

Here's how I'd rate those losses:

1. Bradley Roby, WR: Unlike Ohio State, we were giving this kid a shot to play receiver and he'd have been by far our most talented player at that position and, in my mind, a lock for freshman All-SEC and maybe even SEC player of the year. OK, we're not talking about Bradley anymore. Hurts too much. At least we don't play the Buckeyes.

2. Jerrell Prester, ATH: Who can forget all those comparisons to D.J. Moore? JP is an exciting little athlete who could have moved all over the field. He probably would have been a cornerback, punt returner, and one of those guys who could play offense for two plays and catch two passes for two touchdowns against Kentucky's best defensive back. Oh, nevermind.

3. Davis Dudchock, TE: A big, talented tight end. You know, Brandon Barden and Austin Monahan won't be in Nashville forever, though we've kind of taken those guys for granted. But redshirt freshman Mason Johnston and true freshman Blake Gowder are consensus three-star prospects and look promising. And at least we don't play Stanford.

4. Sharrod Golightly, S: How we lost him hurts more than what we lost. True freshmen safeties Kenneth Ladler and Andre Simmons are comparable prospects, just bigger and maybe more versatile and game-ready. But we're gonna be facing Golightly every year... and we won't take him lightly.

5. Myron Ross, RB: Ross was a big, fast running back whose defection to Temple is all but forgotten because of the presence of Rajaan Bennett. If we'd had both, Ross may have shifted to linebacker and taken a year or two to get on the field. Even with the presence of Norman, Stacy and Tate, Bennett will compete for playing time right away.

6. Nash Nance, QB: The worst thing about Nance is that his presence on our commitment list all summer and fall and half the winter kept us from recruiting other, better quarterbacks. He left as part of a package deal so that his buddy can be an All-American and he can hold a clipboard like Jim Bob Cooter did for the Vols. Nash, we'll think about you only if Da'Rick scores against us in Knoxville.


Russ said...

Here Dimon,

Do you think it is realistic that Bobby Johnson may run some more of the option next year with some many good running back(Rajaan Bennent, Warren Norman, Zac Stacy, Wesley Tate, Kennard Reeves, and so on...)

Anonymous said...

What option are you suggesting? Hope it's not the dreaded QB Choice option. That was terrible.

I don't even know if you can throw Kennard in those names anymore... He had a tough time getting PT in the first place. With Bennett in there, we'll be lucky to see Reeves get 8 carries on the season.


I think Bobby's going to do everything to get more than one running back on the field at a time. Remember at Army when Zac Stacy lined up at quarterback and ran the option so many times? While you could say the experiment failed on that day, Stacy made some good decisions and had a knack for making the right pitch. As for Kennard, he's a solid running back who I think will get some carries early in the season, especially in short yardage situations, before Tate and Bennett get their feet wet.

Aaron said...

Losing Myron Ross probably helped us land Rajaan Bennett as we probably wouldn't have signed another RB in this year's class. One thing for sure is that any RB who wants to come to Vandy in the next few years will not get any early playing time. Never thought I'd say that about Vandy RB's.

russ said...

I'm just saying Coach Johnson is gonna have a hard time keeping all of these guys happy and would hate to see any of them transfer. I would expect a run-heavy offense from Coach Johnson.


I agree with you, Russ, but with our offensive line we'll need some kind of passing game to set up the run against SEC defenses.

Russ said...

I agree 100%. Hopefully Jordan Rodgers can step up there.

Stanimal said...

Maybe we should run some sort of gimmick offense where we spread the field and let this stable of running backs exploit open lines, all while throwing the ball to the outside and having a mobile QB who can act as an additional threat. Oh, and we have to throw a no-huddle in too. That'll make us very tough to beat.

I love this talent infusion but I am still furious about Ted Cain being our offensive coordinator.

Russ said...

Anything for more offensive production.. I'm sure Coach Johnson and the rest of the Vandy staff will see what they have in spring practice and try to come up with some ways to have them play to the best of their abilities. Go Commodores!