Vandy steals one from UCF, loses out on Newton

The world of recruiting is like a roller coaster sometimes, and Vanderbilt coaches received good news and bad news Monday. Two days before signing day, the Commodores have apparently stolen a commitment from Central Florida, but lost out on a blue-chip quarterback prospect.

Evandall Williams, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker / fullback from Northside High School in Havana, Fla. (near Tallahassee), reneged on a prior commitment to Central Florida and pledged to sign with Vanderbilt on national signing day.  Williams was the leading tackler for Coach Eric Hinson's Gladiators, a small Class A school in the Florida panhandle.  An all-around athlete with outstanding size and speed, Williams also participates in basketball and track for Northside.

Williams is the 22nd player to make a non-binding verbal commitment to Vanderbilt and Coach Bobby Johnson.  The Commodores were thought to have 23 scholarships to offer, but the number of commitments could be higher or lower Wednesday depending on how a few outstanding offers turn out.

Meanwhile, record-setting quarterback Syvelle Newton of Bennettsville, N.C. has turned down Vanderbilt's offer-- Newton announced Monday evening on local television station WPDE-TV that he will attend South Carolina.  The 6-2, 215-pound blue chipper from Marlboro County High School, who had made his final official visit to Vanderbilt last weekend, chose the Gamecocks over Clemson and Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt coaches are awaiting a decision from defensive lineman Andre Fluellen of Cartersville, Ga.  The 6-4, 275-pound Fluellen, who was thought to have ruled out Vanderbilt after a December visit, told Jamie Newberg of Border Wars Sunday that he had narrowed his final decision to Vanderbilt and Florida State.  Auburn, Florida, Alabama and Maryland were also in hot pursuit of Fluellen.  He is a member of the Border Wars 101, and is considered by some the top defensive line prospect in his state.

The Commodores may also hold a scholarship open for running back Thomas Clayton, a Florida State freshman looking to transfer to another school after playing sparingly last season for the Seminoles.  The 6-foot-0, 198-pound speedster visited Northwestern last weekend, and is scheduled to visit Vanderbilt next weekend.  Originally from Alexandria, Va., Clayton has been timed at 4.32 in the 40-yard dash.  Upon transferring, the former high school All-American would have to sit out a year before playing his final three years of eligibility.

Wednesday is the first day football prospects are allowed to sign a binding national letter-of-intent with their chosen schools.  For a complete list of players who have verbally committed to Vanderbilt, click here.  For up-to-the minute news and rumors on Vanderbilt football recruiting, and more complete information on players considering Vanderbilt, access VandyMania's football recruiting message board by clicking here.

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