Monday, June 27, 2011

Vandy recruiting class is so far so good

Right now, Vandy has eight verbal commitments – o-lineman Gouger, d-back Head, linebackers Sealand and Herring, and defensive ends Griffin, Banks, Weatherly and Dawson.

This time last season, we had only one – tackle James Lewis, who’s about to start his Vandy career.

As you know last season’s class was a revolving door, with 13 recruits committed when James Franklin was hired, but that number quickly shrank to only six, with the following guys either jumping ship or being thrown overboard:

• WR Courtney Bynes to Western Michigan
• RB Marquis Sumler to Western Kentucky
• RB JJ Keels to South Alabama
• QB Shaun White to MTSU
• QB Damien Fleming to Florida A&M
• DE Keith Heitzman to Michigan
• OL Alex Barr to NC State

Looks like only the last two guys jumped ship as opposed to being thrown overboard. In retrospect, it’s unbelievable what Franklin did in such a short time:

• He held on to 80 percent of a solid offensive line class, keeping top recruits James Lewis and Jake Bernstein, as well as Spencer Pulley and Jose Valedon.
• He kept cornerback Derek King, who’d turned down offers to Auburn and UT.
• He replaced Bynes with athletes Jacquese Kirk, Jahmel McIntosh and Darrien Bryant.
• He replaced running backs Sumler and Keels with the more highly regarded Mitchell Hester and Jerron Seymour.
• He replaced quarterbacks White and Fleming with four-star Lafonte Thorougood, three-star Josh Grady, and raw talent Kris Kentera.
• He stole Thourogood from Virginia Tech, McIntosh from Memphis, four-star athlete Dillon van der Wal from Arizona State, and hulking defensive end Barron Dixon from Mississippi State.
• He also added a big Barden clone at tight end in Steven Scheu; an athletic safety, Larry Franklin; another big strong safety who could play LB, Andrew Williamson; a quick defensive end, Jimmy Stewart; and raw but versatile lineman Joe Townsend.

Not bad, huh?

We’re rumored to be getting a boatload more commitments any day now. It’ll be interesting to see what Franklin does with a full recruiting season.

And it’ll be interesting to see if some of our recruits jump ship when the season starts and the inevitable losses come while Franklin rebuilds. In 2009, after the bowl victory, we had 11 commitments by the end of June. Two of them, TE Davis Dudchock and QB Nash Nance, jumped ship.

Wonder how Nash likes carrying that orange clipboard? He’d better get used to it.


Anonymous said...

nancy nash

Greg M said...

I predicted Nash would be playing for UT Chattanooga in a few.


I remember that prediction, Greg. It just may come true.

Vandygal78 said...

I wonder what Franklin is saying to the recruits about the 2011 season; whatever it is it's working. I hope he is saying that we will be much more competitive and will win more than two games;if they bought that then we might not lose any of the good recruits. I still am amazed at the job Franklin did in keeping and getting guys in such a short time period after his hire. Personally success for me will be four wins, more competitiveness, and making Vandy football exciting (I.e. Trick plays that might actually work). I DO think we could win six games this year. In that cases we don't lose anyone and guys in the next class will be scrambling to get on board.Go Dores!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Vandygal78. Franklin and staff are really working this upcoming class. I also hear that the off-season conditioning is really paying off with a much more stronger and physical team esp at the O-line position. My sources tell me that the defense is really looking sharp in summer workouts. I also hear that LS is really benefiting from the new staff and improved position coaching. If our starters and front line players can stay healthy, expect a really exciting season in CJF 1st season. Expect the offense to be really improved under franklin and a possible break-out year by Larry Smith, Mathews & Boyd. Go Dores !


It'll be easier to keep recruits than it was after the 2008 season for the simple fact that Franklin built the 2011 signing class and is building the current class following a 2-10 record instead of a bowl victory. Even if he wins just two or three games this season, he can say that he's building a foundation for future success. After the Music City Bowl, Vandy fans and potential recruits felt like we'd finally paid our dues and arrived, and then after our first of two consecutive 2-win seasons everybody started thinking "Same Old Vanderbilt." Remember that Lou Holtz took a dismal South Carolina team in the 1990s and in his second season beat Ohio State in a bowl game. But his first season, he didn't win a single game. Franklin has a grace period and that should work to his favor keeping verbal commitments. Another key, I think, is just finishing the season strong. We've always fallen apart in the last half of the season. I think how we finish the season is more important than how many total games we win.

Anonymous said...

Today is going to be huge for Vanderbilt football... Hope to see some coverage


Posting something now and will follow up this evening.