Vanderbilt's hot summer in recruiting

The surprise of the SEC this recruiting season has been the Vanderbilt Commodores. The SEC East program has quickly reeled in 20 commitments for the 2010 class which is second in the league to LSU's 21 and tied with Alabama. The impressive part is the Commodores only had two commitments before the start of the summer.

Coach Bobby Johnson and his staff are blanketing the country for talent while reeling in commitments from New Jersey to the Lone Star State of Texas with a majority of the class coming from Georgia.

Jared Morse
Vanderbilt held just eight commitments at this same time in 2008. The Commodores ended with a total of 18 players in the class of 2009 and only five with a three-star ranking. Vanderbilt has already double the number of three-star players in the class of 2010.

The class is led by out-of-state three-star players Nash Nance, quarterback from Calhoun, Ga., Kyle Woestmann, defensive tackle from Marietta-Walton, Ga., Jared Morse, defensive tackle from Oxford, Ala., Grant Ramsay, offensive guard from Marietta-Pope, Ga., Bradley Roby, cornerback from Suwanee-Peachtree Ridge, Ga., Vince Taylor, defensive tackle from Hattiesburg-Oak Grove, Miss., Jonathan Krause, wide receiver from Snellville-South Gwinnett, Ga., James Kittredge, defensive end from Ramsey-Don Bosco, N.J., and Thomas Ryan, defensive end from Marathon, Fla.

Vanderbilt's on the field success has more prospects taking a closer look at the Commodores with the football program gaining a lot of momentum as a recruiting tool as well as academics.

The SEC school has been considered in the past an academic school with a football team. Coach Bobby Johnson has been changing the perception one year at a time as he enters his seventh season in Nashville.

The Commodores earned seven wins in 2008 including a Music City Bowl win over Boston College. They also defeated SEC opponents South Carolina, Ole Miss, Auburn and Kentucky. Both Ole Miss and Kentucky won their bowl games as well.

The Commodores will travel to SEC programs such as LSU, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee in 2009. They will host Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Georgia and Kentucky. Georgia Tech also comes to Nashville on Halloween. Plenty of big games on campus for entertaining recruits.

Bradley Roby
"Vanderbilt now has a similar situation in football as they had a few years back in baseball," said publisher Don Yates. "Before the new baseball stadium was built, Vandy struggled with recruiting great players. Once that stadium was built recruiting took off and the team has been much more successful.

"With football, it was success that was missing, not really a stadium. Now that Vandy has demonstrated that they can win in the SEC and go to a bowl great student-athletes are attracted to the opportunity to get an outstanding education while playing in the best college conference. They also know they have a decent chance to be on a team that will be successful." South Regional Manager Chad Simmons has been impressed with Vanderbilt's 2010 class as well.

"Vanderbilt is putting together a very good class in 2010 and the biggest thing that stands out to me about it so far is how they have recruited the state of Georgia," Simmons explained.

"They have 20 commitments at this time, and nine of them are from Georgia. They are legit recruits that held offers from other Division I programs before they committed to Vanderbilt as well.

"Headlining the group from Georgia are Kyle Woestmann, Nash Nance, Jonathan Krause, and Sharod Golightly. All four of those guys have other SEC offers to choose from before deciding to play for Bobby Johnson."

Davis Dudchock
Simmons points out that Coach Johnson and his staff have put an emphasis on the Peach State and may not be done in Georgia either as they are still involved with prospects such as Rajaan Bennett.

"Another one of their top commits is tight end Davis Dudchock out of Alabama. Good hands, nice frame, and a good student-athlete. They have put together a very sound group, and they have gone into Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas to get 20 commitments."

"If people don't think winning and being competitive in the SEC doesn't mean something to young men out there, then they are wrong. Vanderbilt has played with some of the top teams in the country over the past few seasons, and these recruits in 2010 are recognizing that. They want to be part of that team that takes the next step."

Vanderbilt continues to build relationships with the nation's elite such as James Stone, four-star offensive tackle from Nashville-Maplewood, Tenn., Carlos Thompson, four-star defensive end from Hollandale-Simmons, Miss., Harrison Jones, three-star tight end from Cordova-Evangelical Christian, Tenn., and Chase Hughes, three-star center from Springville, Ala.

Keep an eye on this SEC East team because coach Bobby Johnson and his staff are building a complete program to offer some of the best in the country.

Join other Commodore fans to discuss the 2009 season and all the great news in recruiting [click here].

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