Vanderbilt recruiting is on pace

Tennessee fans are excited about being ranked ahead of Vanderbilt in the recruiting rankings. They are poking fun at Vandy in the forums and social media. These days Vol fans seem more fixated on Vandy, not their traditional, more glamorous rival, Alabama. I guess this means Vandy is finally being competitive in the series while UT has given up on ever beating the Tide again.

Last year UT signed over 30 recruits and it looks like the Vols are on a pace to do that again with 23 current commits according to I guess the folks in Knoxville are hoping the NCAA will change to rules to allow 20 players per team on the field at a time.

If anything, I expect a good number of those future Vol signees to either not qualify academically or end up transferring after a season.

Vandy fans shouldn't be worried about their own alleged recruiting woes. Derek Mason has things under control. He's looking for a few good Vanderbilt men who will represent the university with honor not just on the football field but in the community as well.

Mason made it clear at Media Days that he doesn't give a darn about the number of stars by a player's name, just that they get it done field in his system while displaying integrity and academic excellence. Even so, Vanderbilt is far from the bottom of the barrel in recruiting. All Vandy's commits currently have at least 3-stars in the ratings. Cornerback Donovan Sheffield is the one four star player and at least one of the other committed players has four stars from some of the other recruiting services. I expect Vanderbilt will attract commits from many fine players in the coming months but don't expect the class to even reach UT's current class size by February.

The recruiting ratings are all about hype anyway. Yes, Vandy had very good recruiting classes under James Franklin but the players from those classes weren't the reason Vanderbilt beat UT twice in a row for the first time since the 1920s. Those teams were largely made up of starting players from less highly regarded classes. Just look at Vanderbilt 2010 recruiting class. There were twelve 2-star commits in that class. Carey Spear and Jordan Matthews, both now part of the Philadelphia Eagles, were 2-star players. Kenny Ladler, who made several All-SEC teams, was a 2-star player. Guys like Fitz Lassing, Steven Clarke, Andrew East and Andrew Bridges also merited just two stars and those guys have contributed to this two game winning streak over Tennessee.

That 2010 Vanderbilt class ranked just 54th ( in recruiting while Tennessee was 16th. In that class Vanderbilt was starting to recruit better because of the success of 2008 with the Music City Bowl victory. Compare these recruiting rankings to 2007 when the Vols were fourth nationally and Vandy a lowly 87th. Recruiting disparities of this magnitude were some of the key reasons for Vandy's inability to make the rivalry competitive from 1960 to 2005... and those fun days for UT are long over.

Even if Vandy and Mason does finish ranked in the 30s or 40s recruiting there is no need for alarm. The program is still recruiting way better than it has in the past when it beat UT with teams composed of playmakers from much lesser ranked recruiting classes.

Both Vanderbilt and Tennessee fans should realize that the rivalry will be more high profile in the future. Both teams are recruiting better and the days of 5, 10 or 20 game winning streaks in the rivalry series by either team are probably over. Top Stories