The Tennessean is now making it official: Lafonte Thorogood, possibly the most heralded name in the whirlwind 2011 James Franklin recruiting derby, is leaving the Commodores. Thorogood, who was described at the time by one knucklehead blogger as "the four-star recruit with the five-star name," started off as the future of the QB position for the 'Dores - but when Jordan Rodgers broke out big, Austyn Carta-Samuels transferred in from Wyoming, Josh Grady proved to be a deadly threat under center despite being listed at WR and Patton Robinette made the move from UNC at the last moment, the Virginia Beach product found himself at 5th on the depth chart. So he moved to RB, where he found himself stuck behind breakout star Zac Stacy, returning one-time SEC Freshman of the Year Warren Norman, changeup-back-extraordinare Jerrod Seymour, and the bright star of the 2012 class, Brian "Got Running Away From A Porsche Speed" Kimbrow - a lineup so deep that Wesley Tate moved to wideout at one point.
At this point, having redshirted, Thorogood has four years to play three pretty much anywhere in the country he likes; there's no indication that there are any strings tied to where he might transfer. There's nothing to indicate that he has been anything other than a fine player and student; it's merely a case of not enough chairs left when the music stops. But looking at the verbal of Johnathon McCrary on top of the Rodgers-ACS-Grady-Robinette lineup, I suspect LT still has ambitions of playing quarterback. And given that he was a four-star dual-threat-QB prospect, one can hardly blame him for seeking someplace where he can go under center.
Two thoughts here:
1) How much have things changed when we have so much depth at critical offensive positions that a four-star prospect is leaving Vanderbilt for playing time elsewhere?
2) No Vandy player who never played a down did more for this program than Lafonte Thorogood did, just by signing and coming here. The fact that a prospect that well-regarded would turn down an perennial BCS bowl contender in Virginia Tech to sign with the new regime at Vanderbilt was the shot heard 'round college football, and did more than all the inspiring press conferences to give James Franklin's new order a dose of instant credibility.
I'm glad he came. I hope wherever he winds up, he gets his shot and sets the world on fire (though I'd rather not see it across from our defense). No matter what, though, when they write the history of the Franklin era at Vanderbilt, you'll see the name Lafonte Thorogood. It may not seem like he did very much, but he did the most important thing: he believed in the future of Vanderbilt football. And for that, we owe him our thanks.