As part of VSL coverage this week, I decided to give everyone out there a primer on some freshman (both the true and red-shirt variety) for the upcoming season.
Here is a list of guys I expect to get on the field this year and actually make an impact. If a guy is expected to be red-shirted this season or not really get on the field (even if he was a big name recruit) then you won't find him discussed here.
1) Brian Kimbrow (RB, True Freshman) - If BK's name is not already familiar to you then you just haven't been paying attention (but with the lack of VSL posts that might be our fault). This team has RB depth that I don't think anyone thought was possible at Vanderbilt. Yet Kimbrow is expected to not only see playing time but make an impact. And with his speed and elusiveness they would be crazy to not get him on the field whenever is possible.
2) Josh Grady (WR, Redshirt) - Wait didn't Grady come in as a QB? Why yes, yes he did. But he has since moved to WR. While I don't expect Grady to supplant some of the more seasoned WR's on the roster, there is talk of Grady running some wild-cat packages. Interesting?
3) Kris Kentera (TE, Redshirt) - Another converted QB, I think everyone is surprised how quickly this kid has transitioned. Look for him to be the primary back up to veteran Austin Monahan.
4) Jake Bernstein (OG, Redshirt) - Everyone knows that OL is a thin position for this team, which means even though a guy like Jake won't be starting right away, he is going to need to be effective when he is out there in order for Vanderbilt to have the depth necessary to compete in the SEC.
5) Adam Butler (OG, True Freshman) - Butler looks like he could be the rare lineman to be able to crack the rotation as a true freshman. Again, he won't start but looks promising as a depth guy.
6) Andrew Jelks (OT, True Freshman) - Another true freshman, but Jelks came in as a four-star recruit out of Paris, TN. I think this kid has a chance to be a 1st round pick in 3 to 4 years if he develops (and most importantly puts on weight).
1) Caleb Azubike (DE, True Freshman)- Let me start off by saying this kid has an awesome last name. Ok now that that is out of the way... another one of 2012's 4-star recruits, this local kid looks like a stud. I think he could be starting by the end of the season across from Junior, Walker May.
2) Jimmy Stewart (DE, Redshirt) - Stewart originally signed in 2011 as a LB/DE combo guy out of tiny Cape Coral, FL. He will be behind May in the depth chart.
3) Larry Franklin (LB, Redshirt) - Franklin moved from safety to LB (well kinda, he is playing in the hybrid "Star" position behind Karl Butler). But with the lack of depth at the LB position, he is going to be depended on a lot this season.
4) Darreon Herring (LB, True Freshman) - My pick, along with Azubike, as the breakout star on the Vandy defense. This kid is a beast and we might need him to step right in and if not start than at least play a ton of defensive snaps.
5) Andrew Williamson (Safety, Redshirt) - The big safety (he is just as big as Franklin and Butler), looks to be the next big hitter in the Commie secondary. With the skill we have at the CB position, the Vandy safeties should have the flexibility to roam in the outfield or jump up in the box on running plays, and Williamson should be able to do both.
Kimbrow is the guy everyone is going to be paying attention to, but we have a bunch of very good RB's. What this team needs is for the young guys on the offensive line and linebacking corps to step up. Regardless, if Franklin keeps bringing in high 3-star and 4-star kids at this rate, this team is going to get deep at every position.