Torren McGaster is one of the most experienced players on the team with 23 career starts. Only Ralph Webb has more starts (24) than McGaster. During his career at Vanderbilt, the Alabama native has compiled 132 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, 2 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions and 18 defended passes. McGaster's biggest play last year was probably at Ole Miss when on third-and-goal from the Commodore 3-yard-line, McGaster made a big hit on the VU one to force a Rebel field goal attempt. McGaster will provide solid leadership to the defensive secondary with his experience and persona.
Taurean Ferguson is also one of the more experienced players in the Commodore secondary. He has played in 23 games including seven starts, however, only one of those starts were in 2015. In 2014 Ferguson had six starts and compiled 30 tackles, 25 of those solos, and intercepted two passes. Those numbers dropped to just 13 tackles and no picks last season as Trey Herndon saw increased playing time at cornerback, over Ferguson. Ferguson's lone start in 2016 was in the near upset of Florida in Gainesville. Ferguson should continue to see plenty of action in 2016.
Tre Herndon started every game last season and has at least seen action in all 24 games since coming to Vanderbilt. His size and speed make him a valuable player for the Commodores. He displayed that speed last season against Georgia when he ran down Nick Chubb, who at first looked like he was gone. Herndon's tackle of Chubb kept the star Bulldog from scoring a touchdown that day against the 'Dores. Last season Herndon had 47 tackles and a sack. He also broke up four passes. Herndon should continue to see plenty of action in 2016.
Bryce Lewis is a redshirt sophomore defensive back from Georgia. He has seen limited action since coming to Vanderbilt but did appear in 11 games last season, mostly on special teams. Lewis made one tackle last season. He's not a poor player, he just has some very good players in front of him. Lewis wasn't heavily recruited in high school, with offers other than Vanderbilt coming from Boston College and Georgia State. Lewis has solid coverage skills and the ability to make tackles in open space.
Donovan Sheffield, the son of a former Commodore cornerback, was injured early in the 2015 season and limited to playing in the final six games of the season. Sheffield finished the season with five tackles including two for losses. Sheffield was also recently injured early in preseason practice and his status is uncertain. The former Ensworth star had a dozen interceptions during his high school career and picked Vandy over teams like Ole Miss, Stanford, Virginia and Georgia Tech. He was rated a 4-star prospect by Scout.com early in his high school career. If he's healthy he should see increased playing time.
Freshman JoeJuan Williams was an early enrollee and therefore participated in the Commodores' spring practice. He was rated a 4-star prospect by Scout.com but missed his senior season in high school because he transferred to Hendersonville from Father Ryan and it was determined that he would have to sit out due to a TSSAA rule on transfers. Williams is an outstanding cover man who has the size and speed to make things difficult on receivers. He may be a little rusty after not playing last year but his participation in spring drills, along with preseason practice, should help get him get prepared. Redshirting might be an option but how do you tell a young kid that he has to go another year without playing ball? Williams had an incredible over 25 offers from power conference teams.
Freshman Frank Coppet was a 3-star Scout.com prospect at powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas high school in Florida. He played both cornerback and safety in high school. A first team All-State player as a senior, he helped lead his team to the state championship while racking up 96 tackles and four interceptions. He could end up either as either a safety or cornerback for Vandy.
Another freshman, Elijah Hamilton, another 3-star Scout.com prospect in high school, earned All-State honors at Blessed Trinity high school in Roswell, Ga. He comes from good football bloodlines. His father, Ruffin, played four years in the NFL with stints with the Packers and Falcons. Elijah had 47 tackles and four picks during his final high school season. He could very well end up as a safety with his height and 4.58 forty speed.