Friday, August 14, 2009

VSL's Impact Freshmen

Editor's Note: The following article appears on

Impact Freshmen

1. PK Ryan Fowler. With the graduation of Bryant Hahnfeldt, Vanderbilt turns the placekicking reins over to a freshman. While there is currently an open competition between Fowler and punter Brett Upson, we like what Coach Johnson's been saying about freshman Fowler. This position and the pressure that comes with it makes any prediction of the frosh's first year little more than a guessing game--but for better or worse, Fowler will be an impact player in 2009.

2. Freshman Wide Receivers. Given Vanderbilt’s dearth of wide receivers, we are confident one of the freshmen (redshirt or true) will make an impact. We’re just not sure which one. Our money is on Jonathan Cole (redshirt, 5’11, 170), former Gatorade Player of the Year in Kentucky and a state champ in the 100 meters, if he can get over his nagging hammy. If not, Brady Brown (true, 6’4, 200) played in a spread offense in high school and could get a lot of time early. Also, don’t discount Akeem Dunham (redshirt, 6’3, 198).

3. Freshman Running Back. Vanderbilt hasn’t had a 1,000 yard rusher since the Clinton Administration. Three true freshmen look like possible impact players: Warren Norman (5'10, 188), Wesley Tate (6’1, 215), and Zac Stacy (5’10, 194). While we aren't predicting that any of these guys will be able to best Jared Hawkins for the starting role, the early word from August practice is that all three have shown more explosive speed than Hawkins. VSL likes the size of Wesley Tate and the rumors that he was physically "SEC-ready" straight out of high school. A bigger back like Tate would mesh well with the spread offense, especially if he's still got the speed that made him a high school state champion in the 100-meter dash. But don't discount Stacy, who apparently has the best hands of the bunch. He may be a situational weapon as Vanderbilt seeks to identify a mix of pass-catching threats.

For a more thorough review of the 2009 Commodores, check out VSL's Offensive, Defensive/Special Teams, and Schedule Previews at Vanderbilt Sports Line.

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