Monday, November 20, 2006

The Stanimal's Recruiting Report

Ask any college coach and they'll tell you that what you do during the off-season is just as important as your accomplishments during the regular season. While Vanderbilt's season may be over, Bobby Johnson isn't going to be spending the next 6 months at the beach. He'll be treading the beaten path, trying to convince the immense amounts of young talent across the southeast that they can make a difference in a program as opposed to deepening the ranks of their competitors. I, of course, refer to the recruiting process, one of the most important, if not the most vital, process of the year. And since we are all left wondering who it is that Vandy is hunting down on a weekly basis, I thought I might take a few moments each week to provide y'all with an update on our recruiting efforts. Should you have any information that I may have missed, please feel free to post as well.

In this preliminary report, I should mention that talent which we have already received verbals from to our fine institution. All in all Vanderbilt has received 11 verbals, 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 LBs, 2 CBs, 2 DTs, 1 OT, and a WR. I'll go ahead and highlight the cream of our current crop here.

We'll start with our biggest verbal to date: OLB John Stokes from Memphis University School in Memphis, TN. Stokes is a four star rivals recruit, 6-5 225 with a 4.7 forty. In addition, he's got a 1530 SAT. He's the 13th best outside linebacker prospect in the nation and should be a huge addition to our defense.

We have also received a verbal from FB Ryan van Rensberg from The Bolles School in Jacksonville, FL. Bolles has an excellent history of developing college talent in football. If you don't believe it, look at the success Riley Skinner is having as QB at Wake Forest. With the loss of talented fullback Steven Bright next year, we'll need build some more depth at the position, and Rensberg can provide an immediate impact for us.

The Commodores will have a little help at DT next year from Rob Ashabranner, a 6-2 260 pound all-state player from Beaumont, TX. Ashabranner will have some time develop as we return start DT Theo Horrocks and we have a number of guys on the depth chart to fill in for departing DT Ray Brown.

Another good verbal we've received is from ILB Chris Marve out of White Station High in Memphis, TN. Marve is ranked #14 out of all ILB's in this recruiting class by ESPN.com. We still have plenty of talent with Jonathan Goff being only a junior, so don't expect an immediate impact, but he has been touted by the experts at ESPN for several reasons and should be an excellent player for us down the road.

For the finale, I'll go ahead and highlight the top prospects which the 'Dores will be working on until February 6 (National College Signing Day). We start with the toughest catch, Golden Tate from Pope John Paul II High School in Hendersonville, TN. Ranked the third best CB by ESPN.com and a four star prospect by Rivals, Tate is considering Notre Dame, Vandy, FSU, Florida, and Alabama among others. This would be a HUGE pick-up for the Dores, who struggled in the secondary this year. The good news is, they have a solid shot to pick up a verbal from him. The bad news is, Johnson will be recruiting against Charlie Weis and a lot of Notre Dame tradition. Tough signing here, but still on the table nonetheless.

Next is C Tyler McDermott from Wellington, FL. McDermott is considering Southern Miss, FIU, Auburn, USF, and Vandy. Ranked the number 5 center by ESPN, he would be an excellent addition to our offensive line.

Finally, we have Avery Hibbitt from Bowling Green, KY who is being pursued by Western Kentucky, Kentucky, Louisville, Vanderbilt, and Marshall. Hibbitt is fairly small at 5'10" 175, but is supposedly lightning quick, and as we all know you can't coach speed.

Further elaboration could be made on all of the potential prospects, but I will save those for further updates. In the meantime I hope that our most promising verbals, as well as those just on the brink, will be enough to whet your recruiting curiosity. As I stated before, please feel free to comment further!

2 comments:

JB said...

Reading those rankings just makes me salivate for some off-season recruiting in NCAA Football 2007.

Stanimal said...

As an addendum, it should be noted that this information primarily comes from ESPN.com's recruting insider. Rivals has some different information on the recruits. Two other players to look out for are QB Larry Smith, and WR Udom Umoh.