Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Football Recruiting Season Coming to a Close

Everyone's focused on basketball, which is as it should be, but it's worth mentioning that national signing day is rapidly approaching, and depending on how you look at it, Vanderbilt is either in good shape or bad shape. That is to say, we're looking to bring in a good, well-balanced class of recruits, but we're doing it in a league where well-balanced and great recruiting classes are the norm.

Consider: depending on who you ask (whether it's Scout.com or ESPN.com) the SEC currently has 5 or 6 of the top 10 recruiting classes in the country. When at least 50% of the league is bringing in the most elite players, and the rest of the league isn't far behind, it's sobering to think of how hard that makes it to be competitive when you're a small, academically-oriented private school.

Nonetheless, there is some good news (knock on wood). For one, Vandy looks to carry on the tradition of stealing the top quarterback from the state of Alabama. Just like Chris Nickson, 6'2", 200-lb. Larry Smith of Prattville, AL is a verbal commit who never got much of a look from Auburn or Alabama. Auburn already had a big QB recruit in Neil Caudle, and Alabama--well, who knows with them. But by most accounts Smith is the #1 QB coming out of that state (following in the footsteps of Nickson and LSU's JaMarcus Russell, to name a couple).

Scout.com currently has us last in the SEC with the #76 overall recruiting class (aside from us and Kentucky, no SEC team is below #33). We have several strong commits, including Ryan Van Rensburg, the #13 fullback in the country; John Stokes, the #28 Sam linebacker; and Kyle Fischer, the #84 offensive tackle. As mentioned before, Udom Umoh adds a good combination of speed and athleticism to the wide receiver position.

Let's hope none of these guys get cold feet in the next week, and that Nick Saban doesn't make a last-second play for Smith (although I wouldn't put anything past that guy). Go Commies.

1 comment:

Stanimal said...

A couple of other notables are Inside Linebacker Chris Marve (ESPN Inside Linebacker #15) and Jamie Graham (CB #56). These guys are rated pretty well according to ESPN, but Scout.com and Rivals weren't as impressed.

Rivals also has John Stokes rated as our lone four-star prospect.

Here's a few tidbits that ESPN has to say about them:

Stokes: "Stokes is a tall, physical linebacker who plays with good range and athletic ability. He is tough and aggressive and can penetrate and make plays in the backfield. He is sometimes slow to react but makes up for it with his quickness and range. He plays with a good motor and can make plays from sideline to sideline."

"Overall, Stokes might be best suited as a weak outside linebacker at the next level. He is a patient, naturally aware football player who is a reliable and physical tackler. He has the athleticism to be an impact player someday."

Smith: "Smith is big, athletic and dangerous as a dual-threat QB. He reminds us of current Vandy QB Chris Nixson only Smith is much more imposing in terms of stature and is more likley to make more plays with his legs. He shows very promising skills as a passer and is capable of making all the necessary throws."

"Overall, Smith has huge upside both as an athlete and QB in the spread. He has the physical tools and he is capable of creating plays on his own when things break down."