Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a massive reversal in what I thought would be a tough recruiting year for Stallings and his squad. Kedren Johnson was an absolute must-get for the Commodores. Stallings and his staff have been focusing on Kedren for quite some time now. This commitment is huge for four reasons:
1) Kedren is a game-breaking point guard, the kind of player who, added to our lineup, can be a real difference maker in the long-term.
2) He will add depth in a backcourt that was starting to look a little sparse come 2011, particularly depending on Jenkins performance. Jenkins is not projected by most to come out until next year, so a backcourt of Johnson and Jenkins with Fuller and Tinsley would be one of the most dynamic in the SEC.
3) With the looming uncertainty at Tennessee and an entire year that Bruce Pearl will be unable to recruit, if he is even allowed to remain at the school, landing Kedren was another step towards possibly getting a stranglehold on the Middle Tennessee region. With Jenkins and Johnson now in the fold, the chances of us landing players like Alex Poythress in 2012 may increase as there is less in-state competition. If we can keep this pipeline flowing, we'll have a solid base of in-state talent which we can start to build even more fully around.
4) We are being viewed as more intriguing than major out-of-state programs. Johnson was Bama's #1 target after they landed Levi Randolph. Florida was in the mix, as well as Louisville. While we lost out on Casey Prather last year, we have won 2 out of 3 major in-state recruiting battles with Jenkins and Johnson. In short, we're running with the big boys far more than expected.
I owe Kevin Stallings and his staff an apology after this huge news. I mentioned to the VSL brain trust that I felt our recruiting was tailing off and that we were losing some good will. Kedren Johnson was a must-get and Stallings did what needed to be done. Kudos to all of the Vanderbilt staff in landing a big fish for the program. And rumor has it........we're not quite done!