Thursday, August 5, 2010

Vandy gets a commitment from a Heisman Trophy winner's grandson

Robbie Caldwell has landed his first recruit, Conor Hart of Michigan. He’s a good-looking prospect at 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4 and 245-250 pounds and a 40 time of somewhere between 4.5 and 4.6.

The kid’s grandfather actually won the Heisman Trophy in 1949 at Notre Dame and was the first pick of the NFL draft. His father played on the Irish national championship team of 1977 and his brother also played for the Irish. Which leads Douglas James at VSL to worry that he’ll ditch us for the Irish if they should offer.

That’s a big if. The Irish are taking their pick of blue chippers right now and Hart is a two-star guy across the board. Right now, he’s got offers from mid-level teams like Ball State, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Colorado State, Miami-Ohio, Toledo, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Kent State and Southern Illinois. The only BCS conference bid other than Vandy is from Syracuse.

Hart went to camp at Michigan State a couple of months ago which led the Detroit papers to speculate that he’d soon get an offer from the Spartans; he hasn’t.

That doesn’t mean he won’t get some big-time offers and that we won’t be sweating it out for him in the end.

I know beggers can’t be choosers, but we’re end-rich right now and really need more commitments from offensive linemen. James Lewis is a nice prospect and was recently upgraded to three stars by Rivals. With no quarterback in last year’s class (thanks again, Nash Nance), we could use another one in addition to dual-threat Damien Fleming, but only if we could get a late shot at a blue-chipper. We should continue to upgrade at receiver, and we need to start planning for the future at linebacker, running back and tight end.

We never seem to have a problem getting nice prospects at defensive back and defensive end. Right now, we’ve got nine ends with a shot at cracking the two-deep — seniors Teriall Brannon and Theron Kadri, junior Tim Fugger, sophomores Josh Jelesky and Johnell Thomas, redshirt freshmen Walker May and Thad McHaney, and true freshmen Thomas Ryan and Kyle Woestmann. That’s nine guys competing for four slots, and 10 if you throw in frosh James Kittredge, who’ll also get a look at tackle.

Whereas many of our defensive ends used to be skinny linemen like Reilly Lauer, Ryan Seymour and Jabo Burrow — all whom we beefed up and moved over to Robbie Caldwell — we’ve now got real defensive ends who are fast and who aren’t easily convertible to O-line. May could double as a linebacker and McHaney could slide to tight end, but for now it looks like all those guys will just duke it out.

And soon, hopefully, we can throw Conor Hart into the mix.


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