Ryan White is a player who has seen significant playing time since coming to Vanderbilt but only has two career starts. White, who also served as a punt returner last season, has 60 career tackles, including 6 1/2 for losses, a forced fumble, an interception and three defended passes. White has seen action in 21 career games including every game last season. He started at South Carolina in 2015 and in the debacle opener with Temple in 2014. He should see more action this season.
Safety Jalen Banks has appeared in 18 games during his Vandy career but has yet to start a game. He has six career tackles. Last season Banks saw action in the first six games but was sidelined for the remainder of the season because of an injury. He should see more action this season if he can stay healthy. Banks was a heavily recruited player out of high school with offers from Nebraska, Oregon, Michigan State, Wisconsin and others.
Emmanuel Smith is a big safety who would probably play linebacker on a lot of teams. He was heavily recruited in high school and has appeared in all but three games since coming to Vandy. Smith started games last season against Houston and MTSU. Finished the season with 10 tackles and broke up a pass. Back in 2013 he picked Vandy over Penn State, Oregon State, Tennessee, Missouri, Ole Miss, Louisville. He should see increased playing time this season.
LaDarius Wiley saw action in every game last year, finishing the season with eight tackles including one for a loss. He also recovered a fumble in the close win over Missouri. Wiley has good size for a safety, a position he was moved to after playing cornerback last season. Wiley, who played for Cathedral high school in the Los Angeles area, was pretty heavily recruited in high school. The 3-star Scout.com prospect had offers from Purdue, Northwestern, Cal, Virginia and Boise State in addition to Vandy.
Arnold Tarpley is another Commodore secondary player with a solid amount of experience. He's seen action in 23 games during his career and started seven contests. The hard-hitting Tarpley had 36 tackles including five for losses and two sacks last season while playing mostly nickel back. At the mid-point of his career, he has 54 stops, seven tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles. Tarpley wasn't heavily recruited out of high school but he has produced well on the field for Vandy.
Andrew Rector saw playing time in nine games as a true freshman last season and made some big plays. Rector finished with just two tackles but his biggest play of the season was not a tackle. While playing on the punt return team against Kentucky, Rector blocked a Wildcat punt which contributed to the Commodores defeating UK. As a senior at Father Ryan high school in Nashville, Rector earned first team All-State honors despite missing six games due to an injury.
Austin Quillen is a vicious hitting freshman safety from Jenks, Okla. Quillen was hurt early in preseason practice so hopefully that injury was not too serious. Out of high school, Quillen had offers from Arizona, Colorado State, Washington State and Wyoming. However, he was sold on Vanderbilt and despite continued interest from in-state Oklahoma, Quillen made it clear he was solid with Vandy, remarking, “Right now I have every intention of signing with Vanderbilt. That’s what I want to do. That’s where I want to be.”
Zaire Jones is an outstanding freshman safety from Meridian, Miss. An early enrollee, Jones was able to take part in spring drills. He's looked solid in preseason practice, making big plays, but there are a lot of great players in front of him. In high school, he originally committed to Mississippi State but flipped to Vanderbilt after a visit to Nashville. A 4.0 GPA student in high school, Jones is a solid all-around safety who loves contact and can also play coverage, intercepting seven passes during his high school career.
Gil Barksdale is a talented walk-on from Solon, Ohio. Barksdale earned All-League and All-Region honors in high school playing running back, safety and returning kicks. Watching his video, he seems like he has the right tools to at least be able to contribute on special teams or as a reserve defensive back. In the past, Vandy rarely was able to get players of this quality to walk on.