Vanderbilt Commodores head coach Derek Mason didn't have much time to build his class before national signing day, but he still opened a big prize on college football's recruiting Christmas.
Capital Christian DL Nifae Lealao signs with Vanderbilt. Great talent who can sing and lead pic.twitter.com/65anewCGzL— Joe Davidson (@SacBee_JoeD) February 5, 2014
Sacramento native Lealao is the No. 6 strong-side defensive end in the composite rankings. He committed to the Cardinal in September before decommitting in late January. He took one final visit to Vandy over the weekend of Jan. 31.
In addition to offers from Stanford and Vanderbilt, the 6'5", 282-pound defender also claimed offers from Arizona State, Oregon, UCLA, Wisconsin and others.
SEC Sports Talk credits Lealao as the highest-rated signee in Vanderbilt history.
The loss isn't too crippling for Stanford. The Cardinal added 5-star strong-side defensive end Solomon Thomas earlier on signing day.
Lealao and Thomas were both US Army All-Americans. According to his 247Sports profile, Lealao tallied 181 tackles, 43 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks in his 2011 and 2012 seasons. He also forced and recovered three fumbles and returned an interception for a touchdown while also blocking nine kicks.
With excellent athletic ability and size, Lealao is just the type of prospect Mason will need to keep the 'Dores competitive in the SEC.