Recruiting rewind: Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt Commodores

The class

Recruits: 24 (23 high school seniors, one enrolled early, and one junior college player, who also enrolled early).

Top prospects: Running back Rajaan Bennett is big enough and physical enough to play right away. Defensive lineman James Kittredge was an Under Armour All-American and will probably grow into a tackle in college. Vanderbilt beat Arkansas, Auburn and Florida State for defensive tackle Jared Morse, while Karl Butler has a chance to play early at cornerback, nickel and on special teams.

Sleepers: Local product Fitz Lassing got his offer a day before signing day, but could end up playing linebacker, fullback or tight end in college. Chase Garnham has the kind of speed at linebacker the Commodores love.

Needs met: Vanderbilt stocked up on offensive and defensive line types. Nine of the Commodores’ signees are ticketed to play in the trenches. It remains to be seen if the big-play receiver they so desperately need is in this class. Maybe Jordan Matthews is that guy.

Analysis: Bobby Johnson has upgraded Vanderbilt’s talent every year he’s been on the job, and he thinks this is his most talented class yet. That’s despite having six decommitments since the end of the season. Getting another quarterback to push Larry Smith this spring was huge. Junior college newcomer Jordan Rodgers, the younger brother of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, is already enrolled in school. The addition of Bennett gives the Commodores a bruising presence in an already talented offensive backfield. We’ll find out soon enough who in this class can make a play in the passing game, because the Commodores need all the help they can get in that area.

Scouts Inc. grade: C

What Bobby Johnson said:

  • “Don’t be surprised when a lot of these guys come in and have an impact on our program like Warren Norman did and Zac Stacy and those kind of players. We think it’s that kind of class.”

  • “We got a lot of these guys committed last spring and over the summer. Our coaches did a great job in keeping in touch with these guys and cultivating their interest in Vanderbilt. They came through with a great class. The interest we got right off the bat from playing in the bowl and winning it was a huge help.”

  • “It’s probably the most ready-to-go defensive line we’ve ever recruited. Those guys usually have to redshirt, but I think these guys are going to push some people and be a force on our team next year.”