VSL has gone noticeably silent and we apologize for that. But today something stirred my opinionated sense that I felt I should pose to the readership, if we have any left (oh, you'll be back).
Vandy football has become the new Vandy basketball.
Over the past two weeks, Vanderbilt has landed 5 commitments for the 2013 class to bring that total up to 14. We're not talking ho hum commits either, we're talking some absolutely loaded for bear recruits. We even landed a 2014 guy who is going to be highly-ranked next year. Vandy's class is rated #16 on Rivals, #14 on the new guy 247sports, #23 on ESPN, and #33 on Scout. Debate the differences in ranking between the various services if you must, they are light years ahead of the numbers in the Bobby Johnson era. No one was arguing if we should be ranked closer to 70 than 75 at that time.
What a ride CJF has put us on. The summer recruiting season, which used to be an afterthought for the Commodores, has suddenly become a blast. The influence of Twitter has given fans access to players like never before, and their every word is being scrutinized by message board faithful. Not going to lie, even I'm having a good time with it.
Which brings me to my point: haven't we felt this before?
It seems so appropriate that this occurs the night before the 2012 NBA Draft. I can recall the Spring of 2008 when Jeffery Taylor picked us over Texas and Brad Tinsley, recently decommitted from Pepperdine, chose us over Wake Forest. They were additions to an already impressive group with Steve Tchiengang and Lance Goulbourne. We thought we had the next Andrew Bogut with stud freshman A.J. Ogilvy, and we hadn't even mentioned Festus, who was a completely unproven product at that point. The next year, we landed a big fish in John Jenkins. Tomorrow, it is likely that at least one of those guys, maybe two, will get a guaranteed opportunity with an NBA squad.
But the mood around the basketball program just isn't the same. The reason is because the bar is raised. Vanderbilt fans are no longer content with having a good year every now and again. They want to compete year in and year out. Simply put, the basketball program has a lot of promise for the future, but will likely not return to a near breakout level for a couple of years. Meanwhile, Vandy football is riding a wave of positive recruiting press, is absolutely destroying the recruiting trail, and has become a posh little spot for the kid who can play football and make the grade. Yes, James Franklin puts his foot in his mouth sometimes, but boy does he have a lot of people talking about Vanderbilt. Not so long ago Kevin Stallings was doing the same.
And that is why Vandy football is the new Vandy basketball.