It was only one week ago when it looked like the 2014 recruiting class for the Vanderbilt Commodores would be a disaster after a flurry of decommitments in the wake of James Franklin leaving to be the head coach with the Penn State Nittany Lions.
However, the past few days has seen a flurry of commitments for new head coach Derek Mason, including the school’s highest-ranked recruit ever in No. 103 player overall Nifae Lealao who had been committed to Stanford when Mason was on the Cardinal staff.
The ‘Dores finished with the nation’s No. 46 ranked class which is much better than most thought after Franklin, but it also finished last in the Southeastern Conference. You can view the entire 2014 recruiting class for the Commodores here.
Four-star safety Emmanuel Smith was one of the few in-state commitments not snatched up by Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers and stands a chance to see the field at least on special teams early in his career.
Looking at the rest of the commitments is difficult to envision many making an impact as freshmen, but Vanderbilt will have to trust in Mason’s coaching ability to maximize the talent he does have. I am a big believer in Mason and think this will be the lowest Vanderbilt is ranked on signing day for a long time.
Having said that, this year’s class doesn’t feature a lot of explosive athletes and although it does have a big positive in Lealao, the decommitments of quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels and running back Mikale Wilbon left a big hole in this year’s class.