Vanderbilt Football Recruiting: Head Coach Franklin Loses 1 Commit, Gains 2

Ryan WrightAnalyst IIIJanuary 28, 2012

Franklin has Vanderbilt poised to sign their best recruiting class ever.
Franklin has Vanderbilt poised to sign their best recruiting class ever.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin continues to work miracles on the recruiting trail for the Commodores.

After years of relative futility attracting SEC-caliber talent, Vandy has 22 verbal commitments.

With only one year of head coaching experience under his belt, Franklin caught college football by surprise in 2011 and made a statement to all SEC teams that Vanderbilt will no longer be an easy win for any team.

The Commodores are a team on the rise, and recruits from all over are jumping on board.

Franklin’s message has helped recruits decommit from other schools and switch to Vanderbilt.

Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year Patton Robinette, a quarterback from Maryville, switched his commitment from North Carolina to Vandy.

Former Arkansas commitment Jakarri Thomas, a linebacker from Tallahassee, Fla., committed to the Commodores on Jan. 26.

Reports are former Razorback defensive coordinator Willy Robinson was high on Thomas. Once Robinson was released from his duties the Hogs cooled on Thomas.

A loss for Arkansas becomes a valuable gain for Vanderbilt.

Chris Moody, a rare safety/quarterback prospect from McDonough, Ga., committed to the Commodores on Sunday Jan. 22, after taking an official visit to the campus the weekend of Jan. 20.

Moody is taking his last official visit to South Carolina before National Signing Day on Feb. 1.

He also visited the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida previously.

The lone recruit no longer committed to Vanderbilt is wide receiver Andre McDonald from Minnetonka, Minn.

McDonald, rated as high as the third best prospect in the state of Minnesota, committed to his home-state university and is now a Golden Gopher as of Jan. 26.

The only "soft" verbal commitment on the Commodores list is defensive end Josh Dawson from Tucker, Ga.

University of Georgia has aggressively recruited Dawson over the past weeks after he officially visited the Bulldogs on Jan. 13.

The University of Minnesota is not ranked in top 50, while has the Gophers ranked No. 62.

With three scholarships remaining, Franklin hosted Dawson, linebacker Harding Harper from Montgomery, Ala., offensive tackle Andrew Jelks from Paris, Tenn., Vanderbilt commitment Will Holden, wide receiver Herbert Waters from Homestead, Fla., and Vanderbilt commitment Jaborian McKenzie the weekend of Jan. 20.

Offensive tackle Kevin McCoy from Seffner, Fla. is scheduled to visit this weekend. has Vandy as the No. 33 recruiting class in the nation, which places them No. 10 out of the current 12 SEC teams, with Kentucky at No. 34 and Ole Miss at No. 60 being behind them. rates Franklin’s haul much higher, at No. 25.

The bump in rankings on places Vandy at No. 9 in the SEC, ahead of Mississippi State at No. 30, Arkansas at No. 31, Ole Miss No. 41, and Kentucky, which is not ranked.

New SEC members—come this summer—Texas A&M and Missouri, are ranked nationally at No. 10 and No. 49 respectively.


Here’s a list of the 22 current verbal commitments to Vanderbilt:

QB Patton Robinette, 6’5”, 200 pounds, 3-star, Maryville, TN

RB Jaborian McKenzie, 5’9”, 180 pounds, 3-star, Natchez, MS

RB Brian Kimbrow, 5’9”, 165 pounds, 4-star, Memphis, TN

WR Cory Batey, 5’11”, 180 pounds, 3-star, Nashville, TN

OT Andrew Jelks, 6’6”, 260 pounds, 3-star, Paris, TN

OT Will Holden, 6’6”, 271 pounds, 2-star, Green Cove Springs, FL

OT Blake Fromang, 6’8”, 280 pounds, 3-star, Orlando, FL

OT Barrett Gouger, 6’4”, 275 pounds, 3-star, Chattanooga, TN

OG Adam Butler, 6’5”, 285 pounds, 3-star, Duncanville, TX

CB Torren McGaster, 6’0”, 180 pounds, 2-star, Daphne, AL

CB Brandon Banks, 5’11”. 170 pounds, 3-star, Brandywine, MD

FS Chris Moody, 6’0”, 197 pounds, 3-star, McDonough, GA

SS Paris Head, 5’10”, 170 pounds, 3-star, Buford, GA

DE Ladarius Banks, 6’2”, 263, 2-star, Dallas, GA

DE Stephen Weatherly, 6’4”, 190 pounds, 2-star, Atlanta, GA

DE Josh Dawson, 6’4”, 225 pounds, 4-star, Tucker, GA

DE Caleb Azubike, 6’5”, 240 pounds, 3-star, Nashville, TN

DE Torey Agee, 6’4”, 250 pounds, 3-star, Opelika, AL

LB Jakarri Thomas, 6’1”, 195, 3-star, Tallahassee, FL

OLB Jacob Sealand, 6’1”, 220 pounds, 3-star, Tucker GA

OLB Darreon Herring, 6’2”, 195 pounds, 3-star, Stone Mountain, GA

K Colby Cooke, 6’3”, 175 pounds, 2-star, Goochland, GA


All commitments are verbal and non-binding. National Signing Day is February 1.