“This season was rough team-wise,” said Vanderbilt. “We weren’t really clicking the way we hoped we would have this past season. We had a lot of mental mistakes that a lot of teams capitalized on, but for me personally I had a really good year. I recorded, I believe, 82 tackles, five interceptions, two forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries.”
With numbers like that it would seem as though the defensive coaches funneled everything to Vanderbilt. However, he says that wasn’t the case.
“I wasn’t the main part of our defense,” said humble Vanderbilt. “I was like the quarterback for our defense though. I was able to control the (defensive backs) and make sure they were doing the right thing, and if a team was going to throw over the top of us that was pretty much on me. I had the responsibility of making sure of keeping our DB’s on the same page so that teams didn’t throw on us.”
On the recruiting front, Vanderbilt has been in constant contact with Nick Howell during the recruiting periods. It won’t be long before an in-home visit will be paid to the Vanderbilt house.
“I’ve been talking to Coach Howell quite a bit during the season, and we usually are in contact once or twice a week,” Vanderbilt said. “Since I was offered I get a lot of mail from BYU, and they’re actually coming out to my house for an in-home visit December first, so they can talk things over with me and my mom and my little brother if he’s there. So far things are going really good.”
One BYU Cougar that Vanderbilt keeps in contact with is cornerback Robertson Daniel. Daniel and Vanderbilt have known each other for some time now and keep in touch now and then.
“I still talk to some of the players on the team. Robertson [Daniel] came out to one of my games because he lives out here and close to my school,” Vanderbilt said. “I didn’t get to talk to him that much because it was during the game. He told me what to look out for in my game, but I’m going out to BYU on my official visit so I look forward to talking to him and some other players on the team.”
BYU will lose a number of significant members of their secondary come next season providing a starting opportunity for those coming in. Vanderbilt hopes to compete and be a starting for BYU come the first game of the season next fall.
“I have big shoes to fill with Robertson [Daniel], Craig [Bills], and Jordan [Johnson] (leaving), and they’re all really talented and probably going to be playing on Sunday’s one day,” said Vanderbilt. “Right now I’m looking to go in there and compete for a starting spot. If they give me a chance to compete for a starting spot I’m looking to go in there and win it and then start in the Nebraska game.”
In regards to this season for BYU, Vanderbilt feels BYU should be currently undefeated.
“Yeah, I think they should have gone undefeated this year,” Vanderbilt said. “I think the main reason they had problems is because the offense was built around Taysom Hill, and when he went down that created a lot of adversity for the team. I think the quarterback they have now isn’t doing too bad.”
This Saturday, Vanderbilt will be heading down to watch the Cougars take on the Cal Bears. He’ll be heading down with an old friend and his college defensive backs coach to watch the game live.
“Oh yeah, I’m going to be out there with my DB coaches and one of my friends that’s coming along with me who is at Washington State,” said Vanderbilt. “He’s aat Washington State right now but we’ll be heading down to the game.”
Cal actually recruited Vanderbilt before BYU did, but BYU was the first to offer.
“Yeah, I’ve been talking to Cal a lot,” said Vanderbilt. “Cal was recruiting me and came into the picture before BYU did, so really it was between them two. Cal hasn’t offered me yet and I’m still looking for an offer from them, but, yeah, I still talk to the defensive backs coach now and then. I’m still committed to BYU though.”
Although BYU and Cal are Vanderbilt’s two top teams, he’ll be supporting BYU and cheering on the Cougars when he attends this weekend’s game. He just needs to find a BYU shirt to wear when he goes.
“I’m committed to BYU so when I go to the game I’m going to be supporting BYU,” said Vanderbilt. “I’ll be cheering for BYU when I’m there. I had a BYU shirt but I don’t know where I put it, but I need to go out there with a BYU shirt on.”