Getting to know Mason Johnston

The Vanderbilt staff received their sixth known commit recently when the Bolles School tight end Mason Johnston decided to be a Commodore. VandyMania talked with Johnston to find out more about this outstanding future wearer of the black and gold.

Mason Johnston committed to Vanderbilt on Friday, at lunchtime. Johnston had visited Nashville and Vanderbilt on Monday and Tuesday. Johnston stated that he had gotten mailings from Vandy but the first contact he had with them was in May, "They came to practice." Later, Vandy assistant coach Charlie Fisher requested game video from Johnston. In mid June Johnston received a written offer from Vanderbilt. After receiving the offer Johnston quickly moved to make plans to visit Vanderbilt but he had to wait until after the Vandy staff returned from vacation.

What he saw on that visit convinced him that Vanderbilt was the place for him, "I just fell in love with it, the coaching staff, the city, the school, and the overall program; the school as a whole. Then I just decided to commit," said Johnston.

When asked what set Vanderbilt apart from other BCS schools, such as Michigan State, North Carolina State, Arkansas, Illinois and Duke, that had offered him the talented tight end replied that it was the combination of great academics and football. "Definitely the fact that they have the perfect combination of a great football team along with the great academic institution. None of the other schools had that and it was definitely something I was looking for," replied Johnston.

Johnston also commented that Vanderbilt red shirt freshman tailback Ryan van Rensburg played a big role in his decision to head north. "When I was up there and I had lunch with him one day, and sat down with him and asked him about it and he couldn't say anything wrong about Vanderbilt, he loved every bit of it. That kind of made me feel great about my decision and I just committed. He certainly influenced me, hearing from him, because he's someone I can trust he's really going to tell me the real story," said the future Commodore.

Johnston revealed that he is a pretty good basketball player. He even kicked around the idea of pulling a Jamie Graham and playing two sports, "I was talking to the coach and they said that it's such a big division I school and in the SEC it's very hard to do two sports completely because you tend to have to devote yourself to one so I don't think I'll be walking on the basketball team."

Growing up in north Florida it was natural that Johnston follow the Florida Gators and he grew up a Gator fan. The question in every Commodore fan's mind is, "What if Florida offers?" Johnston was adamant that he is solid with Vanderbilt. When asked what he'd do if the Gator staff were to offer he replied, "I'm completely solid with Vandy, my word is my word, and if Florida offered me today I'd say no thanks."

Johnston still has one more season of high school ball to play before heading to Nashville and he is excited about the prospects of Bolles' 2008 season, "Were going to be good, we have a great set of skill players, we graduated our offensive line last year though, entirely. So we have a bunch of fresh young kids coming up from JV and coming to the school to try to prove themselves. I think we'll have a solid team this year."

Johnston is the sixth prep player to commit to the Commodore program. Commitments are non-binding. National Signing Day is on February 4, 2009. For a complete list of known Vanderbilt commitments click HERE

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