Recruiting is back in full throttle with the dead period over, and the coaches are out seeking some more players to add to this 14 player class we have so far. Coach Mason is hitting Alabama, coaches are in South Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Hawaii, and other states with in-home visits. We have a super group of official visitors coming up in the next 3 weekends. So with that in mind, I am listing and writing about our current commits and our major targets with each of the commits and targets' rankings, a description of them and their visiting dates. Also, I'm including our NFL guys final numbers along with basketball happenings and a baseball note.
A lot of the recruiting information is from Vandy 247 and the guru of Vanderbilt recruiting, Jesse Johnson, though I feel pretty plugged in as well. Here's the intel:
Early enrollees, in school, on the team.
1. Dimitri Moore-Dimitri is a 6'2, 195 pound outside linebacker out of Cedar Hill High School in Cedar Hill, Texas. Dimitri is rated as an 86, 3-star, a very solid number. He's a super hitter with a lot of athletic ability and good ball skills. Love to add those linebackers. As a friend of mine told me one time via a man who played and VU and was a highly successful lawyer in Birmingham, "We don't need any more lawyers, we need linebackers." Dimitri is a good addition to the team.
2. Tae Daley- Tae is a 5'11", 175 pound safety out of Northside High School in Warner Robbins, GA. Tae in an 85, three-star with good ball skills and he's an excellent hitter. We needed some more defensive backs in this class and Tae will add a lot to the secondary in the upcoming years with his talents.
These are the guys who have committed and we feel very good about them signing and becoming Vanderbilt Commodores.
3. Jacob Free- Jacob is a 6'5" 200 pound pro style quarterback out of Brantley High School in Brantley, Alabama. Jacob put up super numbers throughout his career. Jacob is rated as an 86 three-star. I've watched Jacob's film and he can throw the short, medium and long throws very accurately. He's got a cannon Don't have the numbers in front of me, but I recall him throwing for over 100 TDs against 30 ints in three years as the starter. He threw more ints than the coaches would like, so he needs to improve his accuracy a little, but he's also an outstanding runner. He ran for something like 10 TDs this past season. Really good career numbers for Jacob. Like what we're getting to go along with Kyle Shurmur, Wade Freebeck and Deuce Wallace. We've also got a 4 star commit for 2018 in Allen Walters from New Jersey.
4. Bryce Bailey- Bryce is a 6'5" 290 pound offensive tackle from Castle High in Newburgh, Indiana. Bryce is an 86 three star like Jacob. He had numerous pancake blocks for a team that ran for 3,000+ yards this year. Bryce is aggressive, physical, and has a great mean streak about him. Like that in o linemen. We've got three more of those kind of guys who are committed. About to talk about them as well.
5. Randall Haynie- Randall is a 6'0" 178 pound cornerback out of Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Randall is also an 86, three star. Good height, good tackler, very good ball skills. We've got Randall and another corner committed and we're targeting most likely one more. Like what we're getting out of Randall.
6. Dayo Odeyingbo- Dayo is a 6'4" 235 pound defensive end out of Ranchview High School in Carrollton, TX. Dayo's brother, Dare is a sophomore on the team and was a major contributor to our team this season at defensive end. Dare was a high three star himself. Dare will be a huge part of our defense in 2017. Dayo is an 85, three star. He is aggressive, an excellent tackler and very good pass rusher. He will be one of our bookends on defense in the future.
7. Jalen Pinkney- Jalen is a 6'3" 225 pound defensive end out of Norcross High School in Norcross, GA. Like many of our commits, Jalen comes from a traditionally high level program in Norcross. Jalen is an 85, three star as well. Jalen's older brother, Jared, is a sensational tight end for us, who's ceiling is through the roof stellar in the coming years. Jared is a redshirt freshman. Wow, the future is bright for him and his younger brother. Jalen is another disruptive, excellent football player, who plays the run and rushes the passer extremely well. This is a really good defensive end class.
8. Colin Anderson-Colin is a 6'2" 210 pound outside linebacker out of Brooks School in Killen, AL. Colin is an 85 three star. Colin is a super tackler for loss-sack player. Will be a dominant defensive player for us. Love Colin's film. He will be a force for us at the second level and rushing off the edge. Colin is a super good player.
9. Cole Clemens- Cole is a 6'5" 286 pound offensive tackle out of Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah. He's an 84 three star. He's another guy who buries opponents. Love Cole's film like I love all four of our line commits' film. Aggressive, physical and violent, and I mean that in good way. He's tough and aggressive, and has that mean streak you're always looking for up front. That's what I mean by violent.
10. Nico Bolden-Nico is a 6'4" 205 pound safety out of Woodbury Senior High in Saint Paul, MN. Nico is an 83 three star. Love Nico's height and he goes to the ball hard and can get ints. Great ball skills. Like what we're getting here at safety. Our secondary will be loaded in 2017 with talented returning players and a really good group of freshman.
11. McLane Mannix- McLane is a 5'10 175 pound athlete who excelled at wide receiver and is an excellent punt and kick returner. McLane, out of Midland High School in Midland, TX, is an 82 three star, but I see him as underrated. His film is fantastic. McLane has 4.45 looking speed. He's house call city. He catches the ball extremely well, and his yards after catch are off the charts good. Love this playmaker out of the Lone Star state.
12. James Bostic- James is a 6'3" 200 pound wide receiver out of Cardinal Gibbons in Fort Lauderdale, the same school as fellow commit Randall Haynie. James is an 80 three star, but he's much better than that ranking. He has the great length that Coach Mason and the coaches are looking for at wide receiver, and he catches pretty much everything thrown his way. He's super at breaking tackles, He's an awesome yards after catch guy. He's got solid speed. Excellent addition with James.
13. Jonathan Stewart- Jonathan is a 6'8" 292 pound offensive tackle. Super tackle class. Jonathan, out of Mountain View High School in Lawrenceville, GA, is an 80 three star, but, to me, he's another underrated physical, tough as a Sherman Tank, mean as a Georgia rattler type player. And I mean that on the field. He's a solid guy off of it. Obviously, his size is superb, and Strength Coach James Dobson will get Jonathan in the weight room along with the other linemen and get them bigger and stronger. The thing I like about these linemen is there is plenty of room to grow and be 300+ pound guys by the time they're ready to play. Our line is getting really stacked full of big time players who will knock defensive linemen's heads off. Coach Cameron Norcross, to me, is already one of the best in the business. He will have our guys ready next year, and this young group homed in when they are ready to play for us.
14. Grant Miller- Grant is a 6'4", 278 offensive tackle out of St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale. Grant is another guy who comes from a phenomenal program. Aquinas made it to the semis this year in Florida's highest qualification league, 7A and are always a state championship and nationally ranked program. The good thing about our four commits on the line is they're versatile and a couple could play guard. Grant is an 80 three star, but he is another burier of defensive players. Gaining a mean streak. That will be honed by Coach Norcross, and he has plenty of room to grow and get to 300+.
This class is outstanding so far. We can win with'em and our upperclassmen. Excited about the '17 season and beyond with the crop of players we've gotten under Coach Mason.
Here are 13 of the targets we have left on the board and five or six others who could be part of this class. Jesse reported that we will have 20 signees in this class, which means we would sign 6 more, but I'm not sure there won't be more than that with the quality talent we are looking at. Here are 13 players who we are really high on. I've watched film on each of these guys.
1. Michael Owusu- Michael is a 6'6" 210 pound defensive end out of Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, CA. Michael is an 83 three-star. I see these rankings for our commits and our targets as underrated, and Michael is another one who fits that under the radar stud. He is disruptive, a stellar tackler in the run game, he's aggressive, and has a major motor. Michael has offers from us, Illinois, Iowa State, Missouri, San Diego State, Washington State and Wyoming among others. Michael has an excellent relationship with Coach Mason from D Mase's days as Stanford defensive coordinator. Would be an excellent addition to the class.
2. Ryan Thaxton- Ryan is a 6'5", 245 pound defensive end out of St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Virginia. I'm very familiar with the school as in high school, my boarding school, Episcopal High School in Alexandria, was 6-0 heading into a game with then, all boys school like us, St. Stephens. I was a running back on the team my junior and senior years, but my sophomore year in 1977, I was on the JV. But we had a super team with an amazing senior class. St. Stephens led by a field goal and we had it fourth and goal at their 2 with about a minute left. Our middle linebacker, Lee Shaffer, who became a second team All American at North Carolina, came in at running back and we had a power lineup in the backfield with our 210 pound fullback and Schaffer, a 215 pounder. We handed it off to Lee, but he was stonewalled at the goal line and we lost. it was heartbreaking. We went on to finish 8-1, and we beat our arch-rival, Woodbury Forest, on a 40 yard scamper by our fullback, Jeff Pierce, but that game was a downer. We wanted to be perfect. I played my junior year and my first carry I went for 14 and felt good about playing. My head coach, a tough guy who was built like a tank but was also a super motivator, yelled out, "David White wants to play some football!" I was pumped. But the fullback ahead of me was 205 and I was 175, so he got the nod. In the spring of that year, I broke my leg and tore a ligament in my right ankle sliding into third base and didn't get to play my senior year, so that was a bummer. I was going to start and felt really good about the prospects. But in the winter I was an 880 runner for the varsity track team and had a good season, and a right fielder on the varsity baseball for the second year and had a good year, so finished up pretty well athletically. I missed football though. Loved the game.
But St. Stephens has always been good at football. We were better that year, but it didn't work out.
Ryan is an 86 three star and is a highly physical tackler in the run game, and a super sack guy. Love Ryan's motor, too. Ryan originally committed to Virginia, but has since opened up his recruiting and we're looking pretty good though Virginia, Tennessee, Rutgers and Ole Miss have offered.
I'll be listing the visit dates of each of our targets along with our commits after this listing.
3. Feleti Afemui- Feleti is a 6'3", 200+ pound linebacker out of Maui High School in Kahului, Hawaii. Feleti is an 83 three star, but like the rest of our commits and targets, he's a very good football player. Coach Mason and his staff have a keen eye for finding undervalued and excellent talent. High motor, excellent tackler, fast, would be an excellent addition.
4. Demetrius Douglas-Demetrius is a 6'2" 190 pound cornerback and wide receiver out of Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon. Demetrius is an 86 three star. He was an all state player and is very good on both sides of the ball. He's an excellent cornerback who intercepted five passes this past year. I saw him make a couple of ints and he has impressive hands and ball hawking ability. As a wide receiver, he caught 38 passes for 884 yards and 10 TDs. He was also an All Metro Academic selection. Demetrius would be a super addition. He is an Oregon commit, but will be visiting, and that will really help our chances.
5. Myron Tagavailoa-Amosa- Myron is a 6'4" 270 pound defensive lineman out of Kapolei High School in Kapolei, Hawaii. Myron is an 82 three star, but he finished with 18 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, and was a total disrupter to opposing offenses. Another violent player who has super speed off the edge, and has great strength and is an outstanding tackler. Coach Dobson can bulk him up in the weight room and he could be a defensive tackle for us. He has plenty of room to get to 300 pounds. He has 14 overall offers. Southern Cal, Oregon, Georgia Tech, Virginia and Oregon are five of the schools who are on board, so this would be an awesome get for the program.
6. Chris Pierce- Chris is a 6'4" 200 pound wide receiver out of Smithfield High School in Smithfield, VA. Chris has awesome hands, he has take it to the house ability, I saw him take one 75 yards on film, and I love his frame. Chris is another undervalued 83 three star. It's between us, Old Dominion and Temple, which were also bowl teams this season. Chris will visit. Really like the height again on these receiver recruits Coach Mason is recruiting rangy guys like the Ole Miss wide outs and they're excellent football players as well.
7. Jeremy Singleton- Jeremy is a 6'0 receiver out of Brother Martin High School in New Orleans who is a speed guy and outstanding receiver. We have not offered the 86 three star yet, but that could happen any day now. Jeremy looks like a 4.45 guy who can make house calls at any time. Love his speed, his pass catching ability and his length. He is committed to Houston, but that could change when he visits VU in a week.
8. Waydale Jones- Waydale is a 6'4" 190 pound wide receiver out of A.C. Jones High School in Beeville, TX. Waydale is an 84 three star. Waydale has not been offered yet, but that will change quickly. His film is superb. He's 4.4 for sure. He's a house call waiting to happen. Waydale caught 115 passes for 1,979 yards and 30 TDs this fall. Wow. He also has a 3.99 GPA. If and when we offer, Waydale could easily accept as VU provides the educational and competitive advantages he's looking for. Wake Forest and San Diego State have offered and UNC is interested. Would like to get this young man on our team. Playmaker deluxe.
9. Alex Palczewski- Alex is a 6'7" 275 pound offensive tackle out of Prospect High in Mount Prospect, Illinois. He is an 83 three star. He has become a Power 5 prospect. He's got great length, an excellent mean streak, and plenty of room to grow with Coach Dobson's guidance. He will be visiting today and we could secure his commitment by the end of the weekend. He has an offer from Illinois, too, and some others. He's tough, punishing, a pancake blocker who gets a defender down and won't get up until that defender is thoroughly defeated. Alex would be an excellent fifth addition to our o linemen class.
10. Oliver Martin- Oliver 6'1", 195 wide receiver out of West High School in Iowa City, Iowa. He is a 95 four star and the top player in Iowa. I saw him catch multiple deep balls for scores. Oliver has excellent hands, awesome speed, looked 4.4, and big time YAC guy-yards after catch. This is one fine football player. He's shown interest in our program along with our baseball program. He's also an exceptional punt and kick returner. Saw him take a couple back to the house on punt returns. It would be a major get for Coach Mason to get Oliver. Could happen with a visit. He doesn't have one scheduled yet, but that could change.
11. Raheem Layne- Raheem is a 6'1", 180 pound cornerback out of Sebastian River High School in Sebastian, FL. Raheem is an 84 three star. Another long corner with super ball skills and an excellent punt returner. Super hitter, too. Raheem was a Minnesota commit, but opened things up with their coaching change recently. He will visit.
12. Brandon Smith- Brandon is a 6'3", 205 wide receiver out of Lake Cormorant High School in Lake Cormorant, MS. He is an 86 three star. He caught passes for 1,509 yards and 19 TDs. Looks like a 4.45 guy. Game breaker. He is an Iowa commit, but the coaching staff is working on a visit date for the game changing player.
13. Beau Corrales- Beau is a 6'4", 205 pound receiver out of Georgetown High School in Texas. He is an 83 three star. He is an excellent football player looking at his film. He caught 86 passes for 1,205 yards and 14 TDs this past season. Beau has outstanding hands and nice speed. He was originally an Iowa commit, but backed off and has us, North Carolina, Utah and West Virginia on his list of visits. Beau would be another awesome pickup.
Other players of note: 93 4 star saftey Chaz Ah You out of Provo, Utah, 79 two star defensive back Willie Langham out of McAdory High School in Alabama, 84 three star safety Rodney Owens out of Ensworth School in Nashville, 85 three star wide receiver Josh Palmer out of St. Thomas Aquinas, and 84 three star defensive back Charles Watson out of Wahaiwa, Hawaii.
Alex Palczewski, tomorrow or Sunday.
Commits Colin Anderson, Bryce Bailey, James Bostic, Cole Clemens, Jacob Free, Randall Haynie, McLane Mannix, Grant Miller, Dare Odeyingbo, Jalen Pinkney and Jonathan Stewart. Targets confirmed are Beau Corrales, Demetrius Douglas, Willie Langham, Michael Owusu and Chris Pierce.
Feleti Afemui, Myron Tagovailoa,-Amosa and, potentially, Miki Sugutuaraga as well as late emerging targets Waydale Jones and Raheem Layne.
So exciting times ahead for recruiting with our program. Will be thrilling to see what other players pull the trigger in the upcoming weeks and make the best 40 year decision of their lives. Signing day is Wednesday, February 1st. Will keep you posted on pops.
Final numbers on NFL guys
Casey Hayward, San Diego Chargers: Casey finished this season leading the NFL in interceptions with 7 from his cornerback spot . Huge. The 27 year old Hayward added 58 tackles in a breakout 2016. I remember how good Casey was for us and would intercept anything he was close to. Proud for Case. The Chargers are moving to LA, so hopefully the man can keep it up in Hollywood.
Andre Hal, Houston Texans: Andre has had a super year for the Texans finishing with 48 tackles from his safety position and adding 2 ints. The 24 year old Hal is in action this weekend in the second round of the playoffs as the Texans, the No.1 defense in the National Football League, will be severely tested by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Kickoff in Foxborough, Mass. is Saturday @ 7:15 PM CT/8:15 PM ET on CBS.
Jordan Matthews- J Matt was hampered by an ankle injury some of the year and didn't have his usual numbers, but he still caught 73 passes for 804 yards and 3 TDs. Expecting JMatt to get back to his typical numbers when healthy next season. The 24 year old still has some super football left in front of him for many years to come.
Jay Cutler: Jay completed 81-of-137 passes, 59%, for 1,059 yards, 4 TDs and 5 ints. He was injured much of the season. Chicago looks like they are looking elsewhere for a quarterback, so hopeful Jay will land somewhere that appreciates him, and there is less massive pressure. He still has it in him to be a big time QB. Tony Romo didn't really come into his own until last year, when he turned 34. Jay will be 34 in April. Romo is behind Dak Prescott now, so both Jay and Romo will be valuable free agents for some team in the offseason.
Wesley Johnson: Became the starting center for the New York Jets towards the end of the season. Proud for Wesley, who is 26 years old, and has a bright future with the Jets.
Spencer Pulley, The 23 year old rookie is the second string offensive guard for the now Los Angeles Chargers. Spencer is also playing some at center, which he did very well at VU. Will be on top of Spencer and Wesley next year along with our other guys, who I've watched more of.
VU basketball vs. Tennessee @ Memorial in Nashville, 7:30 PM CT/8:30 PM ET on the SEC Network. We'll have to play our best to get over the hump. We are 8-8 overall and 2-2 in the SEC. Bryce said he's ready to end this two game losing streak. I do like the team's fight and dedication. Just needed to make a few more shots and free throws against Kentucky Tuesday Night and we would have won. Lost on the road in a tough game to Alabama last Saturday, but have victories over LSU on the road and Auburn at home. Important one tomorrow night. Hopefully, we can pack the house.
Perfect Game ranked their top 100 players, and our right fielder, Jeren Kendall, is No.2, Wow. One of our starting pitchers, Kyle Wright, is No.5 and third baseman Will Toffey is No. 80. Baseball is not too far away. Excited about that season along with football recruiting, basketball, men's golf and women's tennis coming up. A lot to look forward to.
Enjoy your weekend.