Southers sets January official

Jared Southers of Seton Hall Prep (West Orange, N.J.) is planning on making a return trip to Nashville in January for an official visit to Vanderbilt. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive lineman impressed at a Commodore camp last summer and tells VandyMania.com he has stayed in close contact with the Vanderbilt coaching staff ever since.

"Coach Lightner and Coach Gdowski stopped by my school recently and I set up an official visit to Vanderbilt for January," Southers said. "The situation, as it stands right now (with Vanderbilt), is I have an offer to grayshirt. The coaches are working on the numbers right now to make it work. They have some needs they need to address this off-season at other positions, but they want to offer me with a regular offer to come in next summer and think that can still happen. It's something I'm definitely considering. I hope that it doesn't come down to the grayshirt and something charges, but if it does I'll have to evaluate it and make a decision.

"The official will be my third trip (to Nashville). I just went down for the Tennessee game on November 29th. I loved the amped environment down south. Even though the Commodores fans were outnumbered it was great to see and hear the people's passion come through for their school. I've gotten to know a lot of the players like Tre Bell, who is also from Jersey, and some of the lineman like Delando Crooks, Bailey Granier, and Bruno Reagan. It was a great time even though they lost the ballgame.

"The Vanderbilt coaches have continued to evaluate my film and love how well I keep improving. They told me they can see the improvement in every single game I played this year. They're most impressed with my ability to finish blocks, just staying after it until the whistle blows. Coach Mason told me I remind him a lot of Jonathan Martin, who was on his team at Stanford."

Southers, who attends a top New Jersey prep school, has also taken official visits to Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, but maintains he's still very open at this point in his recruiting.

"If a school were to come in with an offer, I'd definitely take a look," he said. "Really strong academics and a comfort level I feel good about are probably the two biggest things I'm looking for when I go to decide. I set up the official to Vandy, so I'm not doing anything until after that, so it will most likely be late January when I make a decision on my future. You know, early playing time would be great. My goal going in is to help my team so if I can help on the field right away, I'll be ready. If that opportunity isn't there, then I'll help by preparing the guys on the scout squad. Whatever the case may be I'm going in (freshman year) to work my butt off."

After missing his junior season due to injury, Southers rebounded strong for the Pirates at left tackle with 83 pancake blocks and was voted Second Team All-State. His offers are from Connecticut, Fordham, Harvard, UMass, Monmouth, ODU, Rutgers, Temple, Vanderbilt, and Yale.

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