[Front paged! - TI]
Does everybody have the "New Era" band song down-pat after a whole season? I know I don't. And I was at every home game, trying my hardest to clap through the damn thing.
But that song isn't the reason we are entering a new era, and I would argue that even the bowl berth is not the most exciting sign of the new era. I would argue, rather, that the most exciting sign of the new era is the talent that is beginning to notice "that SEC school on West End" and Coach James Franklin.
Everyone has already heard that the top five-star recruit for his position in the nation, 6-4 "pro-style" quarterback , Gunner Kiel, has mentioned Vanderbilt as a prospect (and, apparently, was on campus for an unofficial visit according to another Fanshot) in the same breath as Alabama, Notre Dame, and Michigan. And while he has not "committed", this might just be the second biggest deal in Vanderbilt recruiting history.
Yes, that is a strong statement. What could be first?
Let's take a very quick, somewhat haphazardly researched look at the last decade in comparison to now.
Vanderbilt already has four, 4-star recruits to verbally commit for the upcoming year, and the rest- mostly 3-star, have already committed to the 2012 season. This might not sound impressive to other big names in NCAA football, but we have to remember where we have been- well, let's not. But, in comparison, last year we signed zero 4-star recruits. ZERO.
And in what is the most drastically suprising number as far as recruitment goes, comparing this year to the past ten, is that we only signed three 4-star recruits in the past decade compared to the four now that have verbally committed. Four this year. Three in the past decade.
This means, given these commitments sign, that Franklin and his staff have brought in more exceptional potential talent in one year than in the past TEN.
Yes, I could keep repeating words at the ends of sentences in CAPS here to reiterate the fact that all this "New Era" talk is really taking form, but I'll just leave it at that.
This class hasn't signed yet. And granted, we may see some changes by then, but the New Era looks better and closer than ever.
Let's just hope this "New Era" doesn't sour due to some nasty Tar Heel rumors circulating around town.