Vanderbilt Position Preview: WIDE RECEIVERS

Long a sore spot for the Vanderbilt offense, things are looking up for the Commodore wide receivers. Young talent abounds and there's a new sheriff in Nashville. Chris Beatty, who formerly coached slot receivers at West Virginia, is now in charge of Vandy wide receivers. Players like John Cole, Jonathan Krause, Jordan Matthews and others give Commodore fans hope that better days are ahead.

No depth chart was released by VU after spring drills but here's a rundown on how things could possibly end up.


WR #83 John Cole (5-11, 182 RS-Jr.)
WR #17 Jonathan Krause (5-11, 168 So.)
WR #87 Jordan Matthews (6-3, 195 So.)


WR #80 Chris Boyd (6-4, 195 RS-Fr.)
WR #4 Udom Umoh (6-0, 180 RS-Sr.)
WR #3 Akeem Dunham (6-3, 210 RS-Jr.)

Players to watch:

WR #88 Brady Brown (6-4, 210 RS-So.)
WR #9 Trenton Pruitt (5-10, 175 RS-Fr.)
WR #82 Jameson Sackey (6-1, 210 RS-Jr.)
WR #43 Jeff Gendelman (6-3, 190 So.)
WR #84 Daniel Hagaman (6-2, 195 RS-Fr.)

Like many key players for Vanderbilt during the 2010 season, John Cole suffered with injuries during the season. Cole, who had made an impressive 36 catches during the 2009 season, saw that number drop to 25 during the 2010 season. As a true freshman during the Commodore 2008 bowl year, Cole saw his initial season with Vanderbilt cut really short when he injured his knee in the opening win at Miami (Ohio). Cole was one of the top receivers in Kentucky prep football history while playing at Somerset High School. He caught 78 passes for 1,623 yards and 23 scores as a senior and finished his career with an amazing 237 catches for 5,031 yards and 69 touchdowns. Cole makes excellent cuts and is very fast. If he can stay healthy in 2011 look for him to have another solid season.

Jonathan Krause was one of the most celebrated signees of the 2010 Commodore recruiting class. Vanderbilt needed more speed at the receiver position and Krause, who brought 4.4 forty speed to Nashville, was just what the doctor ordered. Krause, who starred at South Gwinnett High School in Georgia, made an instant impact at Vanderbilt catching four passes in the opener against Northwestern. The speedy freshman went on to finish the season with 24 receptions for over 240 yards. Krause also carried the ball six times for a 20 yard average per carry and scored on end around runs against both Connecticut and Arkansas.

Jordan Matthews caught 61 passes for over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior at Madison Academy in Huntsville, Alabama. During preseason drills Matthews caught the eye of coaches and observers and was expected to make an impact for Vandy during the season. Meeting expectations, Matthews started slowly but by the end of the season he was one of the Commodores top receivers. Matthews caught touchdown passes in each of the final four games and finished with 15 catches for over 150 yards and the four scores. Matthews continued to improve in the spring with new head coach James Franklin's staff and starred in the Black & Gold game catching 7 passes for 103 yards. His 23-yard scoring reception from Larry Smith was one of the few bright spots for the offense during the game. The rangy Matthews has great hands, super work ethic and good speed. He has a knack for being able to leap up and make a play on the ball. Look for him to at least double his number of catches in 2011.

Chris Boyd looks like the twin brother of of fellow 2010 signee Jordan Matthews. Redshirted in 2010, Boyd made 43 catches and scored 9 touchdowns as a senior at Roswell High School in Georgia in 2009. Like Matthews, Boyd has the super hands and good size which helps receivers to be good. Boyd, who caught one pass for five yards during the Commodore spring game, should be a regular contributor during the 2011 season.

Udom Umoh is a hard worker and one of the most motivated players on the team. Frequently during 2010 practices if an onlooker heard a voice of encouragment towards Commodore players, the observer could look over towards the source of the voice and see that it was Udom Umoh. Despite his enthusiasm, Umoh saw his 2010 number of receptions drop from the 20 he had in 2009 to just 12 in 2010. Much of that drop off was the result of the arrival of Jonathan Krause at Vandy. Udom did increase his yards per catch average to 16 (from 13) largely due to a long 65-yard catch that he made against Eastern Michigan. One of the best blocking receivers on the team, Udom caught two passes for 30 yards during the spring game. If Udom can improve his ability to make catches he could see significant action during the upcoming season.

You'd think if a player could make a dozen interceptions in one season on defense that he would excel at making catches on offense. Twelve interceptions is exactly what Akeem Dunham did at Eustis High School in Florida, leading the state in picks as a junior. As a senior Dunham caught 32 passes at the wide receiver position but has registered only one catch in three years of wearing the Black & Gold. Maybe the new coaching will benefit Dunham and help him be successful.

Like Akeem Dunham, Brady Brown has worked hard but still hasn't seen much playing time with the Commodores. He's a big target with good hands and caught 73 passes as a senior Argyle High School in Texas but things just haven't panned out for Brown. Brown's likely excited to get a fresh start with a new staff. He caught two passes for 14 yards during the spring game so that's at least a start.

Trenton Pruitt is a versatile player who played both halfback and wide receiver at Fitzgerald High School in Georgia. The son of a successful head coach, he caught 49 passes and ran for 835 yards as a senior team captain in 2009. Pruitt was redshirted last season but look for him to make a big play sometime during the 2011 season.

Walk-ons Jameson Sackey, Jeff Gendelman and Daniel Hagaman all will help provide depth at the Commodore wide receiver positions.

Other Vanderbilt Position Previews

Defensive Ends
Defensive Tackles
Tight Ends
Wide Receivers
Running Back
Offensive Line

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