San Jose CC DB to Visit BYU in June

BYU recently had one outstanding defensive back on campus in Thaddeus Philyaw for an unofficial visit. The BYU coaching staff now has another prospect lined up to visit in June who is not only very close to Philyaw, but also knows current Cougar Robertson Daniel really well.

Khari Vanderbilt is a do-it-all defensive back for San Jose City College (CA). A multifaceted player possessing both size and speed, Vanderbilt can play both cornerback and safety positions. In fact, he does just that for SJCC.

"I'm 6'2" and I'm between 185 and 190-pounds," said Vanderbilt. "I play safety and corner and can cover receivers in pretty much every type of scheme. Last year I was at safety and I tried to help out at corner when I could. This year they're going to use me as a hybrid player between safety and corner. I'll probably be used as a corner [on the] goal line so they can't throw the fade route, so they can have one side of the field locked. They have me at safety mainly like they did last year, and then they'll roll me down at strong safety and even put me in the box. That way I can run downhill and fill the alley in the run game when they need me to do so. They pretty much use me everywhere when they have to."

Vanderbilt's season stats from 2013 reflect a very productive performance on the field.

"I believe I had 48 tackles, four interceptions, and eight pass breakups," Vanderbilt said.

College coaches from around the country have taken notice and have paid San Jose City College a visit to evaluate the talented defensive back.

"I'm talking to Cal, Illinois, West Texas A&M, Akron, and the University of Alabama-Birmingham," said Vanderbilt. "There have been quite a few schools that have come through."

BYU has also taken notice in Vanderbilt's skill sets. Nick Howell has been heavily evaluating and recruiting the San Jose product. Vanderbilt has established a great relationship with BYU's Defensive Coordinator.

"The [Defensive Backs] Coach Nick Howell is the one recruiting me, and he's not just recruiting me as a football player but he's recruiting me as a person," said Vanderbilt. "He's more than just a coach. He's someone that I can talk to about the things of life or if you're having problems at home. He's really understanding and listens. He's a really good coach and you can tell he's not only looking out for the football program but for the players and their future as well."

In a couple of weeks Vanderbilt will head out to BYU to tour the campus on an unofficial visit. He's been waiting to visit BYU and can't wait to get out to Provo.

"I'll be taking an unofficial visit to BYU and then later I'll be taking an official later in the year. "I'll be heading out for my unofficial on June 8th through the 10th. This is all I've been waiting for. I've got everything ready to fly out there. I bought my plane ticket today after they told me to take my [unofficial visit]. This is the biggest thing that's going to happen in my summer and the one thing I've been waiting for."

Vanderbilt will also take an official visit to BYU later in the year when BYU's season is underway. That way he can see what it's like in Provo when the Cougars and fans are in full game mode.

"I believe my official will come later during a game [week], so I can go up there during a week to see how it is to get a feel for the tempo," said Vanderbilt. "I'll be able to go up on an official to see what it's like to be there on game day to see what it's like."

The BYU coaching staff is in full evaluation mode for top-notch defensive backs to replace the veteran talent manning the secondary in 2014. It's clear that JC prospects like Dane Cruikshank and Thaddeus Philyaw are highly rated. Khari Vanderbilt can be added to that list under consideration as a potential Cougar as well.

"They told me that they looked at around 50 defensive backs and that I'm in the top five," Vanderbilt said. "Out of these top five they want to see who can adjust to the school [best] because BYU isn't like any other university. They have an honor code and expect their student athletes to live a higher code of conduct. They want to see if I can adjust to that, so they want me to come in and see if I can adjust to that and keep my head right and not get into trouble up there."

De Anza College' Thaddeus Philyaw recently took his unofficial visit to BYU. Interestingly enough, Khari Vanderbilt grew up with and is very close with Philyaw and considers him to be family.

"Yeah, we grew up together," Vanderbilt said. "I knew him since I was eight years old and we're really close. We pretty much call each other cousins because we've known each other for so long. He's someone that I hang out and workout with. I know he took an unofficial visit up there to BYU too. I'll probably call him up and talk to him about heading up to BYU to see what it was like. We're [both] San Jose kids."

Vanderbilt, much like Thaddeus Philyaw, also knows current BYU Cougar Robertson Daniel as well. In fact, Vanderbilt currently plays alongside Robertson Daniel's younger brother at San Jose City College.

"I'm good friends with Robertson Daniel and I play with his younger brother right now," said Vanderbilt. "He plays wide receiver out here. He's really good. Anyways, Robertson came out here to one of our practices and we were chatting it up. He was giving me advice and everything. I was only a freshman coming out of high school and this was my first year at San Jose City and he was giving me advice on what to do and what my stats should look like. He really helped me out by giving me a good understanding on what to do for the future. If I go up there, I wouldn't mind stacking up behind him so I could learn from him. I would like to learn from him first, so when it comes my time I would know the plays and what to do so I could produce."

From Vanderbilt's reports, Robertson Daniel gave BYU a glowing report.

"I haven't talk to him recently but the last time I did talk to him, right before my season had started, and I was talking to him about BYU and he said he really liked it," said Vanderbilt. "He said he wouldn't go to any other college. He said he's staying out of trouble up there and he's also producing. He had a really good season last year. He did really well."

When it comes to universities, BYU isn't your run of the mill institution. The standards and qualifications for entrance are among the highest in the nation, and that doesn't include just academics but on a character level as well.

"I know that their standards are high and that you can't smoke, or drink, have sex, do drugs, and stuff like that," said Vanderbilt. "You can have fun and go to parties but you can't go to parties and drink and get wasted, play beer pong, and do things that go on at other colleges. I know if you do break the honor code you can be suspended for games or even kicked out of school and things like that."

The high academic and moral standards found at BYU suit Vanderbilt just fine.

"I'm perfectly fine with that and like it a lot," Vanderbilt said. "I'm going to a school to get an education and play football to try and get into the NFL. I'm not looking for a place to distract me from my goals, and BYU seems like the perfect place where I can try and accomplish those things. I just want to go to a place where I can get things done. At BYU I know I won't be getting into trouble, I know I won't have many distractions, I know I'll be surrounded by a bunch of guys with similar goals to get into the NFL. There's no better place to do that than BYU."

Vanderbilt does have a list of things he hopes BYU has when he visits.

"When I go up on my unofficial I'm going to look for a place where I can feel comfortable at," Vanderbilt said. "I don't want to go to a place where I feel like I always want to go back home. I don't want to tell my mom that I don't like up here and I want to go back home because I'm homesick. I want to go to a place where I feel relaxed, comfortable, and am able to hang out with a bunch of great guys on the football team."

"I want to be at a place where there's a great environment with no distractions, because there's so many distractions out here at San Jose. I don't want to be distracted and don't want to be around any drama."

"I just want to get my education, work hard, and work towards going to the NFL. I know BYU has one of the best business programs in the country, and that's I am thinking about majoring in business and journalism. Having a BYU degree on your resume is a plus."

However, the one thing he hopes to learn is that he'll have a coveted BYU scholarship offer at some point in time. If Vanderbilt is fortunate enough to receive the opportunity to attend BYU, he's already made up his mind what he'll do upon receiving the offer.

"If BYU offers me a scholarship I'll probably commit that day," said Vanderbilt. "My mom likes the school, I like the school, and my little brother likes the school and he's really picky. He likes football too, and likes teams like the Florida Gators and Oregon, so for him to like BYU just as much says something. We all like the school and I already told myself this is the place I would like to be at, because I know I'm not going to have any distractions and be able to get things done up there."

From the sound of it, BYU is in good position to land Vanderbilt's services. will catch up with him after his unofficial visit and find out what he thought about his time in Provo.

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