Vanderbilt’s Recruiting Class Gold Rush 2017

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September 1, 2016: Vanderbilt safety Ryan White (14) and head coach Derrick Mason lead the Commodores out of the tunnel before a 13-10 loss to South Carolina at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jamie Gilliam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Vanderbilt’s Recruiting Class Gold Rush 2017

Next Man Up

Vanderbilt’s head coach Derek Mason signed his fourth overall recruiting class, the third he hand-picked with his vision in mind. The Commodores finished the regular season on a very high note, with their once struggling offense was firing on all cylinders. The Black Death defense was a force to be reckoned with. Mason’s “next man up” mantra helped him reload his roster, as he pursued recruits to fill specific holes. Holes left by relentless, tough and intelligent Vanderbilt men.

The Talent

Defensive Line

Johan Buchanan (Iolani HS, Honolulu, HI) DL, 6-4, 270 lbs.

He was a two-time second team All-District honoree. Buchanan registered 39 total tackles, three quarterback sacks, and three fumble recoveries. He has a great arm extension coupled with quick feet. Buchanan’s strength makes him an imposing and effective defender. He will flourish in Dobson’s off season workouts.

Stone Edwards (Orange HS, Hillsborough, NC) DL, 6-5, 245 lbs.

In 2016, he had 67 tackles with 21 tackles for loss, 13 sacks and two pass breakups. Edwards is a versatile player, with size and speed. His quickness off the line coupled with his length will make him a valuable asset.

Dayo Odeyingbo (Ranchview HS, Irving, TX) DL, 6-6, 255 lbs.

He is the most versatile athlete in Vanderbilt’s recruiting class. At Ranchview, he has played offensive tackle, receiver, tight end, outside linebacker, and defensive end. Because of his multiple positions, he will be a fresh talent with limitless potential for the Commodores. Odeyingbo’s toughness will only be enhanced once strength and conditioning coach James Dobson gets his hands on him. He will be joining his brother, Dare Odeyingbo (Vanderbilt DE), and will make a significant impact no matter which side of the ball he ends up on.

Jalen Pinkney (Norcross HS, Norcross, GA) DL, 6-4, 230 lbs.

His older brother Jared Pinkney is currently a red-shirt sophomore tight-end at Vanderbilt. Pinkney’s varsity stats are impressive. According to 247Sports, he had 110 total tackles, 33 tackles for loss, and 15 sacks in his junior and senior years. Pinkney is quick off the line, with an imposing ability to shed tackles.

Linebackers

Feleti Afemui (Maui HS, Kahului, HI) LB, 6-3, 222 lbs.

He was a three-year starter, earned All-State honors as senior as well as two-time All-District selection. Afemui had 61 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, three quarterback sacks, and three forced fumbles. He has speed and strength that over powers his opponents. Afemui has a quickness and relentless pursuit.

Colin Anderson (Brooks HS, Killen, GA) LB, 6-2, 212 lbs.

Anderson had over 31 Division-I offers as he gained attention with his quickness and ability to get to the ball. His junior and senior stats are impressive with a combined total of 134 tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks and three forced fumbles. He plays sideline to sideline effortlessly. Anderson will need to add some bulk yet, he is an impressive addition.

Brayden DeVault-Smith (Pearl Cohn HS, Nashville, TN) LB, 6-3, 208 lbs.

DeVault-Smith registered 155 total tackles, 26 tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles. He also played H-back his senior season and averaged 14 yards on 10 receptions. DeVault-Smith’s speed and strength makes him an imposing defender. A quickness to the ball and sure hands.

Dimitri Moore (Cedar Hill HS, Cedar Hill, TX) LB, 6-3, 208 lbs.

Moore had an impressive high school career as he racked up the stats. He had over 160 tackles, 25 for loss, as well as 14 sacks. Seven different ‘Dores had playing time at its two inside linebacker spots in 2016. Moore will get some extra time to learn Mason’s 3-4 defense as he goes thru spring ball. He will also get the benefits of summer workouts. Moore is currently enrolled at Vanderbilt for the spring semester.

Michael Owusu (Oaks Christian HS, Oxnard, CA) LB, 6-5, 210 lbs.

He played linebacker, defensive line, as well as wide receiver. Owusu had 54 total tackles, with 28 solo tackles and four quarterback sacks. Named All-Region his senior year, Owusu has great length which would make him an ideal target on offense. His strength and speed make him a powerful defender.

Defensive Backs

Tae Daley (Northside HS, Warner Robbins, GA) DB, 6-0, 185 lbs.

He had an outstanding career at Northside. Notably, in three years he had 220 total tackles, seven interceptions, as well as 20 pass breakups. As a sophomore, he earned second team Class 5A All-State honors. Furthermore, Daley earned first team Class 6A All-State his senior year. He is currently enrolled at Vanderbilt for the spring semester. With his early enrollment he will get the benefits of Spring ball, summer workouts.

Allan George (Andalusia HS, Andalusia, AL) DB, 6-1, 182 lbs.

He is a National Honor Society student. George had 49 tackles, seven interceptions with one pick six and nine broken passes.  He also returned two punts for scores. George has great hands with spectacular ball skills.  He is a multi-sport athlete, which will only enhance his athleticism.

Randall Haynie (Cardinal Gibbons HS, Fort Lauderdale, FL) DB, 6-0, 180 lbs.

He is high school teammate of fellow Commodore commit James Bostic. Haynie played in the Blue-Grey All-American Game. His impressive speed and quickness makes him an imposing threat in the backfield. Haynie used that quickness to block punts and force fumbles.

The Talent

Offensive Line

Bryce Bailey (Castle HS, Newburgh, IN) OL, 6-5, 305 lbs.

He was ranked #1 OL by ESPN, Scout and Rivals, as well as named first team All State. Bailey is fundamentally strong, with great extension and strength. Furthermore, his quick feet allow him to make several blocks in one play. Bailey has a 3.6 GPA and has stated he is looking for a great education with a strong football program. Vanderbilt has everything Bailey is looking for.

Cole Clemmons (Bingham HS, South Jordan, UT) OL, 6-6, 305 lbs.

He is a three-year starter as well as a three-time All-State selection. Clemmons helped Bingham win back-to-back state championships. He registered over 30 knock-down blocks. Clemmons has an innate leadership on the field, and his quickness off the line keeps defenders on their toes. His size and strength make him an imposing player. Clemmons is well-rounded and intelligent athlete.

Grant Miller (St.Thomas Aquinas HS, Fort Lauderdale, FL) OL, 6-4, 260 lbs.

His senior year, he had 28 knockdown blocks, 11 pancake blocks with just one sack allowed. In fact, he did not commit a single penalty his senior season, and earned All-State honors. Miller is fundamentally strong as well an imposing strength on the line. He has great size that will certainly flourish with James Dobson’s off-season workouts.

Jonathan Stewart (Mountain View HS, Lawrenceville, GA) OL, 6-8, 305 lbs.

He only played two years of football, yet he was named All-Region and All-County. Stewart played in the post-season Gwinnett County All-Star game. He was an honor student in high school, and plans to major in business at Vanderbilt. Stewart is quick off the line with an imposing strength. Stewart is raw talent that will only get better. He is intelligent with extraordinary size as well as a passion for the game.

Wide Receivers

James Bostic (Cardinal Gibbons HS, Fort Lauderdale, FL) WR, 6-3, 205 lbs.

He has good speed and can extend a play with his quickness and agility. Bostic’s quickness coupled with his length will make him a valuable target for Kyle Shurmur. Bostic will be a welcome addition to the maturing Vandy offense. His length and his sure hands make the impossible catches look easy. Bostic is strong runner, with a good size and solid speed.

Chris Pierce (Smithfield HS, Smithfield, VA) WR, 6-4, 208 lbs.

In 2016, he played on both sides of the ball, receiver and linebacker. Pierce has an impressive ability to shed tackles, yet he can deliver a hit on defense.  Pierce is a much needed deep threat on offense.  His length seems to give him an advantage over his defenders.  Pierce is a versatile player, with size and speed. His quickness coupled with his length will make him a valuable asset.

Quarterback

Jacob Free (Brantley HS, Brantley, AL) QB, 6-4, 212 lbs.

His senior year, he threw for 2,712 yards and 31 touchdowns, as well as running for another nine scores. He was named first team All-State, All-Region and finalist for Alabama 1A Back of the Year Award. Free was also the punter and averaged more than 40 yards. Free has great size, with a strong arm that he has been developing since eighth grade on the varsity baseball team. His potential is limitless, now that he has the luxury of focusing only on football.

Running Back

Ke’Shawn Vaughn (Illinois/Pearl Cohn HS, Nashville, TN) RB, 5-10, 210 lbs.

At Illinois, he accumulated 1,024 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 217 carries. He is also an All-Big Ten academic recipient. His senior year of high school, he rushed for 2,646 yards and 45 touchdowns. Vaughn has the power to run over blockers coupled with the speed to carry him down the field. As a transfer, he will have to sit out a year, but will be a good solid replacement when Ralph Webb graduates.

Limitless Potential

In the signing day press conference, Mason talked about wanting to add length to his team. As can be seen in the above player profiles, he has done just that. Ultimately, after watching ALL of the hudl videos on ALL of the signees, I saw players that were relentless in their pursuit of the ball. They had speed and toughness, and the size and strength of these athletes will surely be enhanced by Dobson’s off-season workouts.

Notably, these incoming players will have a chance to play for a young and energetic head coach. A head coach that will do everything in his power to make sure they succeed on and off the field. Mason’s passion for the game is contagious; just watch ANY of his game speeches. He has picked a class full of Vanderbilt men with limitless potential.

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