In a word, yes. In case you haven't been keeping up with the endless drama of fickle 18-year-olds basking in the media and message-board spotlight, you can read all about the Dawson situation here, here, and here. The short of it is the four-star DE out of Tucker, GA has been committed to Vandy since last summer, but in the past few weeks UGA has made a big push to flip him. As of Saturday night when the no-contact period set in, Dawson was "50/50" between the Dores and Dawgs. We'll find out Wednesday as decisions are announced and the faxes start rolling in.
Does it matter whether Vanderbilt finishes 25th or 35th in the recruiting rankings? Depends on who you ask. One kid is never going to make or break your program, but it's hard to deny that visibility makes a difference for any school trying to break through to the next level. Consider the fact that despite Vanderbilt's recruiting class currently being rated #24 nationally by Rivals, it still comes in at #9 in the SEC. To the extent these ratings are a good proxy for talent and potential (more on that in a future post), all the more reason to be on the edge of your seat.
Of course, at the risk of stating the obvious, much more important is what the coaches can do with these players once they get into the system. Recall that players like D.J. Moore, Casey Hayward, and Zac Stacy were all 3-stars coming out of high school. Third-round draft pick Myron Lewis? 2-star.
The bottom line is that Vanderbilt is on the verge of bringing in its best crop of recruits in school history, and that's a testament to the outstanding work done by CJF and staff. It hasn't been easy, and the game is far from over. Just in the past week, for example, the Dores got a verbal from 3-star LB Jakarri Thomas, a Florida prospect who had offers from Arkansas, Illinois, Miami and Stanford. But just yesterday, ATH Chris Moody flipped to South Carolina after committing to Vandy the weekend before. Possible late additions include a pair of 3-star prospects out of Florida: WR Charlie Miller (who could help make up for the loss of Andre McDonald to Minnesota) and OL Kevin McCoy (update: McCoy is now reportedly committed).
As the drama unfolds over the next 48 hours, it will be interesting to see if CJF can hold off the attacks and hang onto all his commitments. Brian Kimbrow appears to be safely on board (knock on wood) after being courted by the likes of Urban Meyer in the past few weeks, but other names to look out for as potential flips are Will Holden, Torren McGaster, and Stephen Weatherly. Prepare to abandon all pretense to rational thinking and perspective: Signing Day is almost upon us.