Vanderbilt Position Preview: CORNERBACKS

Arguably, the strongest position on the 2011 Vanderbilt squad is the Commodore secondary. The 'Dores lose long time secondary coach Jamie Bryant but welcome new secondary coach Wesley McGriff. Look inside to find out how things might line up at cornerback in the fall.



#19 Casey Hayward (6-0, 180 Sr.)
#16 Eddie Foster (5-10, 170 Jr.)


#8 Trey Wilson (6-0, 182 Jr.)
#23 Andre Hal (6-0, 185 So.)
#12 Steven Clarke (5-10, 190 So.)

Players to watch:

#26 Reggie Ford (5-8, 165 R-So.)
Larry Franklin (6-1, 212 Fr.)
Derek King (5-11, 195 Fr.)
Jahmel McIntosh (6-1, 200 Fr.)
Andrew Williamson (6-1, 195 Fr.)
Jacquese Kirk (6-0, 160 Fr.)

Wesley McGriff, who coached at Miami (Fla.) last season, takes over the Vanderbilt secondary. In addition to his experience coaching the Hurricane secondary, McGriff has also had coaching stints at Baylor, Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky and Savannah State. McGriff has a fine group of talented players to work with. The Commodore secondary will have a good mixture of both veteran and young players to rely on. In fact, because the VU secondary is so strong, head coach James Franklin has mentioned several times that the Black & Gold may go with more nickel and dime packages to take advantage of strength at the position while mitigating some of the concerns for the linebacker position.

Here's a look at how things might end up at the cornerback position. Keep in mind that the staff did not release a depth chart after the spring.

Casey Hayward is not only considered one of the top returning cornerbacks in the SEC but nationally as well. ranks him as the No. 15 pro prospect out of 236 college cornerbacks. The reason for Hayward's high regard by the scouting services is that he delivers on the field. Last year he came up with six interceptions and ranked third in the NCAA in passes defended. Hayward, who played his prep ball at Perry High School in Georgia, is another example of the Bobby Johnson staff discovering a great player who garnered little interest from other FBS programs. Casey picked Vandy over offers from Troy, Southern Miss and Middle Tennessee. Hayward had one tackle in limited action during the Commodore spring game. Barring preseason injury, he will start in 2011.

The speedy Eddie Foster (photo at right by Don Yates) started 11 games in 2010 and came up with 53 tackles, six tackles for losses and five defended passes. He will long be remembered for his interception return for a touchdown that helped vault the Commodores to a 28-14 road victory at Ole Miss. Foster, who played his prep ball at Heritage High School in Texas, chose Vanderbilt over offers from the likes of Stanford, Boise State, Northwestern and Ole Miss. He had two tackles during the Black & Gold game. Foster is the likely second starter at cornerback.

Trey Wilson (photo at left by Don Yates) started the 2010 opener against Northwestern when the Commodore staff opted to go with an extra defensive back. He finished the season with 11 tackles. Wilson played for the powerful Evangel Christian program in Shreveport, Louisiana where he played on a state championship squad as a sophomore. Trey picked up three tackles during the Commodore's spring scrimmage. He will play and could move into the starting lineup.

Andre Hal saw action in 2010 in all 12 games as a true freshman and earned starts in the Wake Forest and Florida games. Hal had one tackle during the spring scrimmage. Andre is another signee from that strong 2010 Commodore recruiting class. Hal, who earned All-State honors at Port Allen High School in Louisiana, chose Vanderbilt over an offer from Nebraska. Andre is a solid player who should see plenty of action in 2011.

Steven Clarke saw action in 11 games last year as a true freshman. He was switched to running back late in preseason practice after injuries to Warren Norman, Zac Stacy and Wesley Tate. However, after the running back injury situation improved, Clarke quickly was returned to the secondary where he finished the season with 16 tackles, a sack and a quarterback hurry. Clarke played his prep ball at Boyd Anderson High School in Florida where he earned All-State honors after picking up 87 tackles and four picks as a senior. Clarke had one tackle during the spring Black & Gold scrimmage.

Walk-on Reggie Ford did not see action during the 2010 season but played well during the spring game, garnering two solo tackles and one defensed pass.

Incoming freshmen Larry Franklin, Derek King, Jahmel McIntosh, Andrew Williamson and Jacquese Kirk all will make their case for playing time in the Commodore secondary. However, Franklin recently commented that Kirk will get a look at wide receiver first.

Other Vanderbilt Position Previews

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

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