The Anchor Insider - New Year Edition

The Vanderbilt coaching staff is headed into the final stretch of the 2016 recruiting efforts. The month of December was huge for the Commodores as they added not only their top overall target but also their top remaining offensive line target as well.

Both JoeJuan Williams (Hendersonville, TN) and Sean Auwae (Kapolei, Hi) committed to the Commodores in December with the Hawaiian lineman pledging to the Dores on Christmas. Both editions are huge for the Commodores and two players that not only could play significantly in the 2016 but also become full-time starters for the duration of their college careers.

Vanderbilt was also able to add big commitments in December from Providence (FL) running back Jamauri Wakefield and rising Atlanta area cornerback Elijah Hamilton.

The month of December was good for the Commodores and a good sign that things could continue to positively  roll right into January. The Dores currently sit with 15 commitments and it actually looks like they could be adding many more prospects to their 2016 class.

Today’s Anchor Insider gives you an inside look at what Vanderbilt is looking to do with their last remaining spots in the 2016 class and who you should expect on campus for official visits come the new year.

Who are the Dores Targeting?

(No particular order)

1. (DE) Kelvin Lucky - Edgewood Academy (AL)

- Vanderbilt was the first power five program to offer Lucky and the first school to show significant interest in the Nigerian native. After the Commodores became interested, other big time programs jumped into the picture as well. As things stand right now, Vanderbilt is viewed as the leader but others like Texas, Alabama and Florida are right there as well. Lucky has scheduled official visits in January to Florida (16th), Vanderbilt (23rd) and to Texas on the 30th. Right now it is expected that Lucky will make his final decision after his final official visit to Texas. Adding Lucky to the 2016 class would be huge for Vanderbilt as he is a player with untouched potential and the abilities to shine in the SEC.

2. (WR) Nate Johnson - Independence (TN) *Committed to Michigan*

- Johnson has been a shining star in the Middle Tennessee area for a few years now but it took a big senior season to put himself on the map and show power five schools his ability to play big boy football. Committed to Purdue for several months, Johnson earned an offer from Vanderbilt in November and immediately saw his recruitment blow up. Michigan came calling rather quickly and Johnson immediately jumped at the chance to join the Wolverines. After he took a visit up to Ann Arbor, Johnson committed but that hasn’t stopped others from pursuing. Vanderbilt is still highly active with Johnson and is hoping to switch his pledge when he officially visits Vanderbilt on the 16th of January. Johnson plans to visit a few other places but if he does switch his commitment to anyone from Michigan, it would be to the Commodores.

3. (WR) Tyler Simmons - McEachern (Ga) *Committed to Alabama*

- Vanderbilt has recruited Simmons for a while but didn’t really get serious with him until the past two months. Simmons is a polished wideout who has the route running and explosiveness to play in the SEC. You can easily see that when you look at his offer list. Simmons has already taken official visits to California and Georgia Tech and has his third official visit set with Alabama on the 22nd of January. Right now no leader has been named, so Vanderbilt is doing their best to become a factor in Simmons recruitment and is actively working at bringing him on campus for one of his final two official visits. Wide Receiver is the biggest position of need for Vandy, so trying to add a guy like Simmons would be much needed in the 2016 class. *Update - committed to Alabama on Saturday but that will not stop the Dores pursuit of him*

4. (WR) Kalijah Lipscomb - Jesuit (La)

- Standing 6’0 185 lbs, Lipscomb is a rising recruit from the Bayou State who has quickly attracted major attention after a strong senior season. After the recruiting dead period opens back up, it is with a strong belief that Lipscomb could be adding more power five offers to go along with the one’s he has from Nebraska, Northwestern and Vanderbilt. As things stand right now, the 3-star wideout has yet to schedule any official visits but the Commodores are assumed to get one of the five. Academics and playing in a power conference appeal to Lipscomb, so Vanderbilt looks to have a strong shot at landing the Louisiana native if they can bring him in for a visit.

5. (OG) Nate Herbig - St. Louis (Hi)

- Since Coach Mason came to Nashville, the West Coast and even more so the Hawaiian Islands have become a point of interest in recruiting for Vanderbilt. Herbig is a physical and nasty interior lineman that had been committed to Stanford for a long time until recently when he officially de-committed. Almost immediately after decommitting, Herbig received an official offer from Vanderbilt. Herbig had been hearing from Vanderbilt for a while before picking up the offer. It is believed that Vandy is now a very strong contender to land the Hawaiian lineman. Herbig has set an official visit with Washington State and could be looking to set other visits with California and Vanderbilt. Others are trying to get involved but the two Pac 12 schools and the Commodores appear to be his top three at this current time. What could help Vandy is the fact that Herbig and newly committed Commodore Sean Auwae are very good friends and have been in contact through each other’s recruitment.

6. (WR) Jackson Winrow - Shawnee (OK)

- Vanderbilt became Winrow’s first power five offer when the Dores offered him in early December. Commodores receivers coach Cortez Hankton caught wind of Winrow this fall and immediately became enamored with his abilities. Winrow has since put together a powerful senior season that saw his high school team reach deep into the state playoffs. Coach Hankton actually officially offered Winrow in person at his basketball game. Winrow is a two-sport star in high school and performs with great athleticism and playmaking skills in both sports. Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and a few others have expressed interest and could soon offer once the dead period is over. Look for Winrow to set an official visit with Vanderbilt sometime soon and once on campus, could become a future Commodore.

7. (LB) Cameron Goode - Klein Collins (Tx)

- The recent departure of linebackers coach Kenwick Thompson to East Carolina played a big role in the recruitment of Goode but that doesn’t seem to have simmered down the current California commitment’s interest in the Commodores. Goode is a still developing but athletic and intelligent player that would fit nicely at inside linebacker with the Dores 3-4 defense. While Goode is still committed to California, he has already taken an official visit to Nebraska and is looking to set one with Vanderbilt as well. Boston College and Kansas are two others teams trying to work their way into things. Right now it looks like a three-team battle with the Dores sitting in third but climbing fast.

8. (LB) Dru Mathis - Buena (Ca)

- Vanderbilt began recruiting Mathis back in the summer but really ramped up their efforts by the back end of the fall season. Mathis is a smart and athletic linebacker who fits the mold of a Vanderbilt student-athlete. He has strong impressions about the Commodores but is also keeping an open eye to a few West Coast schools as well. As of right now, Mathis has his list cut down to Fresno St, Hawaii, and Vanderbilt. Others like Colorado, California, Washington St and a few more are also interested and could offer once the dead period is over. He has yet to set an exact date but Mathis has informed me that he is planning to officially visit Vanderbilt. Look for him on campus sometime in late January. He will also not make a final decision until he has taken all his visits. Mathis is a guy Vandy would add to the fold but also someone that may be on the bottom of the list due to other highly sought after targets.

* News & Notes *

- Next week three current commitments will become official students at Vanderbilt University as QB Deuce Wallace, CB JoeJuan Williams, and S Zaire Jones are set to early enroll with the Commodores. One thing to keep an eye on is the continued activity from other schools and their interest in JoeJuan Williams. Alabama, Auburn, and a few others are still trying to pursue Williams and get him to switch his decision from the Commodores. I believe in the end, Vanderbilt will prevail and land the local star.

- UCF has been active with recruiting Vanderbilt commits. They officially offered both Deuce Wallace and Braden Kopp recently but don't look for the Knights offer to far at all. Kopp, in particular, has been a rising name for multiple programs, including the Florida Gators. Kopp did unofficially visit the Gators this fall but as of now, nothing has changed with his pledge to the Commodores. Several schools have an interest in Kopp and will be doing what they can to change his interest. Kopp is set to officially Vanderbilt on the 22nd and once that visit has concluded, I believe he will be 100% set to become a Commodore.

- Allatoona (Ga) and Dores commit, tight end Turner Cockrell informed me that he will be taking his official visit to Vanderbilt on the 22nd of January. The weekend of the 22nd appears to be the biggest weekend of recruiting for Vanderbilt as not only most of the commits will be on campus but several key targets should be there as well.

- If there is one commitment to keep an eye on through the back stretch of recruiting is St Thomas Aquinas (FL) cornerback Frank Coppet. While the Florida defensive back has committed to the Dores for a while, he has received multiple offers since and has even discussed to possibilities of other visits. Another factor with Coppet is the fact that Vandy has landed cornerback commits from JoeJuan Williams and Elijah Hamilton in the month of December. While Coppet is different compared to Williams and Hamilton, numbers and space may be an issue. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Coppet eventually go elsewhere but I'm predicting he sticks with his pledge to Vandy and eventually signs with the Commodores come signing day.

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