Despite near misses, VU recruiting surging

We have written a lot on these pages about how James Franklin has turned around the Vanderbilt football program in just a short period of time. When Franklin took over the Commodores in 2011 the cupboards weren't totally bare, but there was a lot of work to be done in terms of getting quality athletes to commit to play in Nashville.

Franklin has attacked the recruiting trail with a gusto not always associated with Vanderbilt coaches, and boy has it ever paid off.

Consider this. In 2009 Vanderbilt brought in the 72nd ranked class in the country according to Scout.com, which was good for last place in the SEC recruiting war. As of today the 2013 class which Franklin has put together is ranked 35th by Scout.com and even higher by some of the other recruiting services (as high as 20th in the country).

Franklin has made it his mission to keep Tennessee talent in state by bringing them to Vanderbilt. Just this week the Commodores just missed out on Brentwood, Tenn., cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey is a 6-foot-0, 190 pound prospect who runs a 4.4 forty and who is only expected to get better as he moves into the collegiate system. Ramsey eventually chose USC over Vandy, but the fact that the Commodores are even mentioned in the same breath as a Trojan recruit (let alone being in his last two schools) would have been unheard of even three years ago.

Ramsey isn't the only defensive back who Vandy was in the running for this week. Franklin is doing an outstanding job of growing the Commodores recruiting base and competing in heartlands that have proven difficult in the past. Sure, Vandy has picked up some lower ranking commits out of Florida, but historically a player such as Vernon Hargeaves III would be out of the school's reach.

Hargreaves III is widely regarded as one of the top 10 OVERALL players in the nation. His final five schools were Florida, Clemson, Miami, Notre Dame, and Vanderbilt. When, if ever, was Vandy in the running for a Top 10 recruit against those kinds of schools?

Yes, in a perfect world Vandy would land these recruits in 2013. But with the way that Franklin is building the program (and getting Vandy increased national attention) who is to say that in the near future recruits of this caliber won't be pulling on the black and gold.

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