Expect freshmen to make impact for Vandy

In what was an obviously truncated signing period Vanderbilt was able to coral 22 signatures which will make up the freshmen football class of 2014. You would be forgiven for thinking that because the ‘Dores were rushing and scrambling to lure the players they wanted to Vanderbilt that those kids might get ushered in the backdoor and lost in the program for a couple of years.

In what was an obviously truncated signing period Vanderbilt was able to coral 22 signatures which will make up the freshmen football class of 2014. You would be forgiven for thinking that because the ‘Dores were rushing and scrambling to lure the players they wanted to Vanderbilt that those kids might get ushered in the backdoor and lost in the program for a couple of years. Those expectations could not be further from the truth according to the philosophy of head coach Derek Mason.

Remember this quote from Mason in the fall when you see an unexpected number of true freshmen on the field wearing black and gold.

"We look to play young men," Mason said last week. "…If you look at our record and what I've done, where I've been, I've played more freshmen in college football than anybody over the last four years. … If you have great student-athletes in your program who can contribute right now you let them go. You let them play."

To put this into focus compared with what we saw from the previous coaching staff it is worth noting that last year only three true freshmen saw any playing time at all. Honestly, if Chris Boyd had stayed on the team that number would likely have been cut to one as it would have been hard to see either Jordan Cunningham (15 catches) or Latevius Rayford (2 catches) finding their way onto the field. All told the only major true freshman contributor last year was Darrius Sims who had plenty of time at both cornerback and in the return game. The entire rest of the class redshirted.

Anyone who has ever played NCAA on their Xbox or PlayStation will know that one of the best ways to sway a recruit is by offering them an immediate chance to be a contributor. No one wants to come into a program knowing that they are not going to have a shot to work their way into the game day squad no matter what they do in spring and summer ball. You want everyone to practice with an edge and you want them to be fighting for a position from their first day on campus. It is that hunger that makes everyone on the team better.

If Mason has his way we could see as many as ten true freshmen suiting up next fall. If they do, then you can be that every single Vanderbilt player on the roster will be better for it having happened.

SCHOLARSHIP FRESHMEN FOR 2014
(Include highest star rating of the major services)

REDSHIRT FRESHMEN

DB Jalen Banks (3*)
DB Tre Bell (4*)
LB Nigel Bowden (4*)
LB Oren Burks (3*)
WR Carlos Burse (4*)
OL Delando Crooks (4*)
LB Zach Cunningham (4*)
OL Sean Dowling (3*)
ATH C.J. Duncan (3*)
DB Taurean Ferguson (3*)
TE Nathan Marcus (3*)
QB Johnny McCrary (4*)
K/P Tommy Openshaw (2*)
TE Mitchell Parsons (4*)
WR Gerald Perry (3*)
DE Landon Stokes (4*)
TE Mack Weaver (4*)
RB Ralph Webb (3*)
DB Ryan White (4*)
WR DeAndre Woods (4*)
DT Jay Woods (4*)
DE Jonathan Wynn (3*)

TRUE FRESHMEN

DB Khari Blasingame (3*)
WR Rashad Canty (3*)
DL Sekou Clark (3*)
QB Wade Freebeck (4*)
OL Bailey Granier (3*)
OL Cole Hardin (3*)
DB Tre Herndon (3*)
DL Nifae Lealao (4*)
DB Bryce Lewis (3*)
LB Hawkins Mann (3*)
ATH Ronald Monroe (3*)
OL Bruno Reagan (3*)
RB Dallas Rivers (4*)
WR Caleb Scott (3*)
WR Trent Sherfield (4*)
DB Emmanuel Smith (4*)
QB Shawn Stankavage (3*)
DB Tre Tarpley (3*)
DL Riley Tindol (2*)
DB Ladarius Wiley (3*)
LS Davis Winkie (2*)
DE Charles Wright


VandyMania.com Top Stories