Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
The more you look at Vanderbilt's offensive numbers from last season, the more you realize what a terrific job Bobby Johnson and his staff did in getting the Commodores to seven wins and a bowl victory.
Vanderbilt finished the season ranked 117th nationally (out of 119 teams) in total offense and 105th in scoring offense. The Commodores have to find more firepower on offense to help a defense that played extremely well in 2008.
Jared Hawkins will be a senior next season, so they definitely want to address the running back position and are looking for more speed, a guy who can break a tackle and turn a 10-yard run into a 60-yard touchdown. Eric Samuels of Umatilla, Fla., Zac Stacy of Centerville, Ala., and Warren Norman of Chamblee, Ga., are three running backs the Commodores already have committed in this class.
Cornerback D.J. Moore's decision to leave early for the NFL draft and the graduation of safety Reshard Langford put a dent into what was a very productive secondary. Cornerback Myron Lewis will get his time to shine in 2009, but Vanderbilt needs to add defensive back help in this class.
Quarterback Larry Smith, who will be a sophomore, showed some promise with the way he threw the ball in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl. But fifth-year senior quarterback Chris Nickson has departed after injury-plagued seasons the past two years.
Smith will battle Mackenzi Adams, who will be a senior, for the starting quarterback job next season. The Commodores also have Charlie Goro of Park Ridge, Ill., coming in, and Goro will be the first Parade All-American to have signed with the Commodores in more than 20 years.