Pinkney surprises coaches with commitment

Growing up in Norcross, Ga., just a mere 20 miles north of the Georgia Dome, Jared Pinkney always knew he wanted to play in the SEC. On Tuesday evening, during an in-home visit with Vanderbilt coaches Charles Bankins and Brett Maxie, Pinkney made the decision to do just that and gave the coaches his verbal commitment.

Jared Pinkney Profile

Pinkney, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound wide receiver, spoke to on his decision to join the Commodore program.

“I took an official visit this past weekend and I loved everything,” Jared Pinkney said. "The campus, the student life, the football aspect, and the city of Nashville were all exceptional to me. Coach Mason actually recruited me (to Vanderbilt) personally. He made it clear that I was a top priority, that they really, really, really needed me there. After meeting with Coach (Cortez) Hankton, the new wide receivers coach, I felt like he was someone who I could interact well with and have a strong relationship with even after I graduate.

"On the visit, I meshed well with all of the players and the other recruits who were on campus. I had a chance to interact with some of the freshman as well as some of the seniors who have been there under Coach Mason and Coach (James) Franklin to get both of their perspectives. They said that Coach Franklin was more laid-back about certain things. They thought the way they won most of their games, though, was by luck. With Franklin, they said the mentality was to see where they're at at halftime and if we're still in it, then we'll try to win the game. Under Coach Mason, even though they haven't won a lot yet, they go into games expecting to win them.

"I took all of this back home with me and thought about the information. Coach Maxie and Coach Bankins were coming down here just to spend some time with me. I don't think that they were expecting me to commit or even coming here hoping I would necessarily. That's what made it even better."

Pinkney accumulated an impressive list of offers from top programs like Florida, Kentucky, Miami (Fla.), Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Purdue, and UCF. Two of those schools have made recent trips to the Georgia Dome to play for SEC championships. Pinkney feels Vanderbilt can be the next to do so.

"The groundwork has been laid down for success at Vanderbilt," he said. "I think we can be the next team to emerge like Mississippi State was this year. I'm not saying we'll be ranked number one in the country next year, but Vanderbilt is definitely on their way with the talented three-star and four-star guys in last year's class to go with the talent that's coming in with my class.

"It's a big relief to me to get my commitment out of the way. I'll ready to get back to training and back to focusing more of my schoolwork. My goal going in (to Vanderbilt) is to have a great four years there. Early recognition isn't my main goal, I just want the team to be successful. I want to get acquainted with the academics and football in the SEC that first year. I would love, though, to go in and make a big impact as a freshman. We'll see."

Pinkney was named first team all-region for 7-AAAAAA in 2014 by the coaches after helping Norcross to a 7-4 season. He was part of state championship teams at the school in 2012 and 2013.

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