With James Franklin moving on from the Vanderbilt Commodores to the Penn State Nittany Lions, the Commodores’ recruiting was obviously going to take a hit. Franklin led the Commodores to new heights.
After landing the country’s 26th-ranked recruiting class in 2013, the Commodores’ class ranked just 46th in 2014.
In 2015, it looks like new head coach Derek Mason, who was the Stanford Cardinal’s defensive coordinator, has the Commodores’ recruiting back on the upswing. On Tuesday, during The Opening, the Commdores landed by far their most talented commitment in the class of 2015 when 4-Star inside linebacker Josh Smith gave his pledge to Mason and the Commodores.
“What really set it off was the last visit when I went down there,” Smith told Barton Simmons of 24/7 Sports. “They didn’t talk about just the athletics. They showed me the academic facilities and I got to meet with the Dean of Biomechanical Engineering, and I got to meet with some of the professors. That’s what really set them apart.”
The 6’3.5, 218-pound Smith expect to play both inside and outside linebacker at the next level.
“Rushing the passer and also playing the run,” Smith said. “Versatility is a big thing. I love being versatile and I don’t want to limit myself to one thing.”
Smith is from Murfreesboro, Tennessee and attends Oakland High School. He is ranked as the country’s ninth-best inside linebacker prospect, the 11th-best overall prospect in the state of Tennessee and the 297th-best overall prospect in the class of 2015, according to 24/7 Sports’ composite rankings.
Smith also had offers from the Alabama Crimson Tide, Auburn Tigers and Penn State Nittany Lions, among others.