Coach Derek Mason landed a couple of more commits yesterday and these are two huge gets for Derek and the staff.
2017, 86 three-star Cole Clemens, a 6'5", 290 pound offensive linemen and first team All-State selection out of South Jordan, Utah, dropped anchor on Friday morning. Clemens just won his third Class 5A state title at Bingham High in Utah leading his offense that generated 4,788 total yards and 72 touchdowns with 3,097 yards and 51 of them coming on the ground. Clemens was a standout at a couple of Nike Camps this past year and had a really good camp at VU last June.
Cole chose us over offers from Virginia, BYU, Utah and several others. Those are all quality football programs. Utah and BYU always play hard-nosed, physical, solid football and are always good. Cole fit their profile and ours, so I like who we're getting.
Watched Cole's film. He played right tackle for Bingham, and loves to bury people. He's got a super mean streak. Likes to get an opponent on the ground and keep'em down. He is a superb run blocker. Didn't see him doing much passing blocking because Bingham didn't need to pass that much because they were so good on the ground, but if you can run block, you can pass block. Work with Coach Dobson in the weight room and Coach Norcross on the field will have Cole ready to go. He looks like he could be a three year starter for us. Again, he just buries people. A typical Coach Mason player. Physical, hard-nosed, an excellent football player. Love Cole.
And we got a spectacular pickup in the 2018 class as 90, 4 star quarterback Allan Walters, from Peddie High School in Highstown, New Jersey, also committed yesterday. Walters chose us over Alabama, Michigan, Ole Miss, Kentucky and Louisville. Allen, a 6'2", 205 pound signal caller, threw for 1,373 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore at Paramous Catholic in New Jersey. Then, after transferring to Peddie School in New Jersey for his junior year, Allen completed 58-of-80 passes, 73%, for 870 yards and six TDs as well as rushing for 103 yards in the first three games before sustaining a hairline fracture that cost him the rest of the season. Not sure if it was in the leg or the arm, but Allen will be fully recovered for his senior season.
Watched film on AW. Wow, he's got a cannon for an arm and he's so accurate. Superb with the deep ball and intermediate throws. Handles the pocket really well, doesn't get sacked, steps up and hits his targets in stride. His arm and his accuracy are phenomenal. We're going to love Allen Walters. Just gotta keep him in the fold until signing day in February of 2018. We get a super quarterback every year. We've got a stellar one in Kyle now, with Wade Freebeck and the talented freshman Deuce Wallace waiting in the wings. Deuce is being redshirted. Jacob Free is coming in this '17 class, and Allen will be coming to the West End in 2018. Coach Mason and Ludwig are going to have fun with these quarterbacks.
So we have 13 commits right now. Cole joins 6'5", 290 pound high three star tackle Bryce Bailey out of Indiana, and three star tackle Grant Miller out of St. Thomas Aquinas Florida as our offensive line commits for this class. We did lose cornerback Adam Sparks. Adam decided to open his recruiting up. Sorry to see that, but we still have some really good opportunities at cornerback for this class. We already have 86 three star corner Randall Haynie out of Cardinal Gibbons in Fort Lauderdale and 85 three-star safety Tae Daley out of Warner Robbins, Georgia committed to this class. We've got some strong possibilities in 89 three-star corner Yusuf Corker out of Stockbridge, GA, and some others. We're also in it for some more offensive linemen as 6'8", 294 three star offensive tackle Jonathan Stewart out of Lawrenceville, GA., and 6'5", 270 pound offensive guard Jax Wacaser, an 85 three star out of Scottsdale, Arizona are both very interested. We've got some stud wide receivers we're looking at who are very interested in our program in 85 three star Austin Connor, a 6'0", 180 pounder out of Dutch Fork, SC, and solid three star Chris Pierce, a 6'4", 212 pound out of Smithfield, Virginia. We have other linemen, receivers, some linebackers and d ends, and a defensive tackle or two who are also very interested in the program. Will keep you posted as Coach Mason and the staff fill out what is a special class and keeps building for the 2018 class. Allen Walters is quite a start there.
Zach became Vanderbilt's first unanimous All-American on Wednesday after he was named first team All American by the American Football Coaches Association. Along with the AFCA honor, Zach was named Associated Press, Walter Camp Football Foundation, Football Writers Association of America and Sporting News All American. Wow. Zac was also named first team All American by CBS Sports, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Phil Steele and SB Nation. The hits just keep on coming with Zach. And the good news is, we at least have one more game with Zach. Zach led the SEC in total tackles with 119, which ranked him 11th nationally. Zach also posted 16.5 tackles for loss, finishing second in the SEC behind Myles Garrett of A&M, and 22nd nationally. Zach's four fumble recoveries led the SEC and were second in the country. And Zach made two of the best plays in college football this season. His stop of lightning fast Georgia wide receiver Isiah McKenzie was epic and his leap and block of Auburn's Daniel Carlson's kick to give us a chance to win the game was beyond superb. What a phenomenal football player and an even better person. Can't wait to see Zach compete December 26th.
What a huge day December 26th will be when we face the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, LA. at 4 PM CT/5 PM ET on ESPN2. I'm having withdrawals from missing watching this electrically exciting team play. Can't wait to see the guys line it up again in Shreveport. More on the Independence Bowl leading up to the game next week along with any more recruiting or team news.
Bryce and the team host Chattanooga at Memorial tonight at 7:30 CT/8:30 ET on the SEC Network. Big game for us. Chattanooga is 8-2 and took Tennessee to the wire, and the Vols just took UNC to the wire in Chapel Hill last Sunday. This is a good basketball team we're playing, so we need to really play well and kickstart our season. Unfortunately, Cam Justice has decided to transfer. Sorry Cam made that decision. Hoping for the best for Cam in the future. We've got a pretty short bench with just 9 scholarship players, but they're good players and I believe in them. Know Bryce will get this team going. We've got good talent, we've just got to win games late, which we haven't been able to do so far. Shooting is pretty good. Matt Fisher-Davis and Riley are shooting it well, and Luke is playing pretty well. J Robe is doing a good job, and we're getting super play from freshman point guard Payton Willis. Joe Toye, Clevon Brown, Nolan Cressler and Djery Baptiste are all doing a good job off the bench. We're a good team, we just need to win tonight and get some momentum going as we head closer to the SEC opener December 29th @ LSU at 8 PM CT on ESPNU. We'll play a very good Dayton team before that at 6 PM this coming Wednesday at Dayton. Just need to win tonight. Will have a postgame on Monday.
The Commodores baseball team will play in at least 11 nationally televised games this coming season. We'll be playing the likes of Ole Miss, A&M, Florida and South Carolina on the SEC Network and other ESPN family of networks. Ready to see Jeren Kendall, Will Toffey, Kyle Wright and company compete in the 2017 season as we aim for another deep run in the postseason. Don't know a lot about this 2017 team yet. There are some unfamiliar names as we have a lot of youth on this team. But Corbs' recruiting has been through the roof good, so there is plenty of talent. May take some time for our team to develop and hit their stride, but the leadership is good with the three guys I mentioned along with super sophomores Alonzo Jones, Connor Kaiser, Ethan Paul, and Julian Infante. I like this makeup of this group the more I think about it. Will talk to Corbs in mid to late January for a preview of another riveting season in Vanderbilt baseball. Looking forward to catching up with the man. The baseball facility is fully funded and it's a go as we have secured our place as the premier baseball program in the country.
Will never forget you Number 41. You will forever be with the program. This season is for Donny.