Thursday, March 3, 2011

Scholarship update: Looks like Jay Fullam's leaving Vanderbilt to become a fighter pilot

A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned that we've got five more players on the roster than we have scholarships for.

Then, based on the updated roster, we told you that it looks like we're two scholarships over. That's assuming that the following players are finished: Justin Cabbagestalk (career-ending knee injury), Jamie Graham (profile not updated; likely graduation) and James Kittredge (profile not updated; could be transferring).

Now it appears that safety Jay Fullam is gone too. A commenter named CAR just told us he's transferring to Air Force. I think that means he's got to start over and attend the academy for four years, though he would have two or three years of eligibility.

Fullam's grandfather was a fighter pilot who was shot down in Vietnam. Since he arrived on campus, Fullam's official player bio has listed his career ambition as "fighter pilot." Air Force Academy is a good place to go if you want to do that. He could have cross-enrolled in Air Force ROTC at Tennessee State in Nashville, but it would have been difficult to juggle football, academics and an ROTC program. Of course, it's even more hectic and stressful just to attend a military academy, especially during the first year, but the over-arching theme in Colorado Springs would be the military. At Vanderbilt, it's juggling academics and football, and at UT it's juggling playing football and escaping brushes with the law.

Anyway, you can't believe everything you read on the Internet, even from our esteemed and informed MV! audience, but I just checked Fullam's info on his Facebook page and he identifies himself as "studied at Vanderbilt." Then I checked a bunch of other guys, including Jabo Burrow and Wesley Johnson and Grant Ramsay, and their info says "studies at Vanderbilt." Notice the tense. The other guys study at Vanderbilt. Present tense. Fullam studied at Vanderbilt. Past tense. Which means he doesn't study there anymore.

Fullam looked pretty good as a redshirt freshman starting the season opener at free safety against Northwestern. But a shoulder injury opened the door for true freshman Kenny Ladler, who took over and now enters 2011 as a lock to start over Fullam.

Fullam would have faced stiff competition from sophomores Andre Simmons and Karl Butler and true freshmen Larry Franklin, Jahmel McIntosh and Andrew Williamson.

I had projected him to have dropped out of the playing rotation by mid-season at the latest.

Fullam's a solid student and just the kind of kid you'd expect to see playing for the Falcons. Heck, he's got a better chance of going to a bowl than he would have at Vandy.

Whatever his situation, we wish him the best.


Anonymous said...

I wish Jay Fullman well. I think that this shows again that this coaching staff has indicated to several players that it plans on putting the best players on the field regardless of class, which is the way it should be. Any upper classmaan who may be not be ready to compete to start has likely been told that they will be pushed by the young guys; mainly freshman, Redshirt freshman, and a few sophmores. The previous staff (Caldwell and Johnson) seemed reluctant to play it's best players and gave the edge to an upper classman even if he was not the best athlete at that position. That approach will never win games in the SEC and is not being done at other SEC schools. It might win against a weak out of conference foe, but not in the SEC. It appears that CJF is going to play the best players at each position. After many losing seasons and a history of not being very competitive, he needs to send a message to not only the team and fan base, but to recruits looking to come to Vandy. If you come in and compete and win the job in spring workouts....then you will play. Hopefully that's the message being sent. Redshirting makes sense if a player needs to add weight, get better position coaching than he got in high school, or needs work with technique. Most freshman have no idea the huge difference in speed and physicality between high school and college football. Looking back at last season, it's hard to imagine that last years staff had its best athletes on the field during the course of the season. I wish Jay Fullman well at Air Force. Solid kid who seems to have his priorities right. Do Dores !

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I mean......Go Dores !

Greg M said...

I heard Coach Franklin pithced a tantrum when he couln't talk Jay out of leaving. Which I hope just means that he cares greatly about keeping good players and winning as opposed to being a closet psycho. Anyway, as a fellow McCallie alum and former VU football walkon, I will miss having Jay on the team and his BIG hits.

Looks like being a Fighter Pilot and defending our country is more important to him than competting against criminals in SEC play!!!!

Go Jay and Go Dores!!

Anonymous said...

Dude, there's no difference on facebook between it saying "studied" or "studies" at a school. Fullam is transferring, but don't read into that on people's profile, it makes this blog look really weird doing so. Lots of guys who are still in high school will have "studied" at the place they are currently going to, just as other guys who are still at Vanderbilt, Alabama, MTSU, Tennessee, Carson Newman, will have "studied" on their profile too.

Dimon said...

Nice comments all around. I agree wholeheartedly that we should play our best players regardless of age. Bobby Johnson was too conservative in this regard, and Caldwell may have gotten a little too footloose and fancy free last season at some positions while neglecting to opt for talent at receiver and linebacker.

Greg M, some good comments on Fullam. Franklin rarely fails at talking anybody out of anything so I imagine that riled him.

Yeah, yeah, I know Facebook often is inconsistent with tenses and makes it sound like you just got married when you've been married for 20 years or just quit your job when you're still working there. And that's what I thought when I saw Jay's information. But then every other Vandy player I checked had "studies." Sure, that was a stretch but heck I was bored and felt like writing something and as a trained journalist I like to tell you where I get stuff even if it is from somewhere stupid.

Thanks for reading and commenting, everybody, and have a great weekend.

Vandygal78 said...

Just saw Jay Fullam's comments over on Rivals. What a great guy, he is just following his family's Air Force history. He said wonderful things about Vandy but just really wanted to be a fighter pilot. Best of luck to him.

Greg M said...

Fly high Jay. You are Champion and I am proud of you

Anonymous said...

Jay is one of the greatest men I have met in my life. Few can bring a smile to others' faces like Jay, and the fact that he is willing to dedicate his life to a purpose beyond himself is admirable. I am sad to see him go but proud to know someone with the courage, tenacity, and heart that Jay possesses.