"I was actually at Vanderbilt Tuesday on an unofficial visit," said Staley. "I got to tour the campus. I liked it so much much I wanted to come back for the Spring Game. On Saturday after talking with the offensive coordinator and Coach Rahne, the quarterbacks coach, I was ready to commit to Coach Franklin. I went up to him before the game and told him. He was so excited. He started jumping up and down, pushing me all over the field, and calling all of the coaches over.
"It was definitely the academics on what sold me to go to Vanderbilt. We watched a power point presentation and it said they rank 17th nationally and their graduates earn an estimated $160,000 a year salary. It was more than just the football program that made me want to commit. I love all of the coaches and the energy and the enthusiasm they bring. It carries over to the players. Looking at the depth chart, I think I'll have a great opportunity for early playing time if I work hard. They're upgrading the facilities and it's a program on the rise in the SEC. I think I found the perfect spot to spend the next four years of my life."
In his second season as a starter for the Wheeler, Staley passed for 1,600 yards and 14 touchdowns leading the Wildcats to their first playoff appearance in seven years.
"I definitely improved on my decision-making," Staley said. "I went from 10 interceptions the season before to two. I also grew in my leadership in being able to speak to my teammates and handle adversity.
"It was last summer at Vanderbilt's camp when Coach Franklin offered me. He said he loved my arm strength and all the different things I'm able to do in the pocket to keep the play alive. I think the Vanderbilt offense is going to be perfect for me and help me to achieve my goal of one day playing in the NFL."
Staley held offers from Mississippi State, Boston College, and Appalachian State. He also claims 16 offers for basketball. Staley averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game in his junior season. While he said he'd like to pursue both sports in college, he wants to get the green light from Coach Franklin first. Kevin Stallings may soon be knocking on James Franklin's door to ask him to share the wealth in Staley.