The Super Bowl didn't just mean the end of the NFL season - it also meant the final weekend for recruits to make official visits to college campuses. Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason took full advantage of that, earning commitments from six players to nearly double his overall haul for 2014.
Mason pulled players from coast to coast in his effort to restock Vandy's depth chart for the future, going from California to North Carolina to pick up key targets late in the recruiting process. That includes help at quarterback, in the trenches, and even at long snapper. While these players have flown under the radar of many BCS programs, Mason and his staff saw roles for these guys at the next level, leading them to flip their commitments from schools like South Florida, East Carolina, and San Jose State for the opportunity to play in Nashville.
Mason's Sunday haul brought Vanderbilt's Class of 2014 to 14 players - and there may be more to come. The team is still waiting on a decision from their biggest remaining target, defensive end Nifae Lealao. The four-star Californian had originally committed to Stanford before reopening his recruitment after Mason left for Vanderbilt. His final three choices are the Commodores, California, and Oregon State.
Here's who decided to drop anchor on Sunday.
Shawn Stankavage - 6'2", 180 lbs, quarterback - 2-stars (Rivals), NR (ESPN). Stankavage is a drop-back quarterback with good vision and a solid arm. He'll be tasked with providing the 'Dores with depth early in his development while he adds bulk and learns the college game. He comes from good bloodlines - his father Scott played quarterback for UNC and backed up John Elway in the NFL. Stankavage flipped his commitment from East Carolina to choose Vanderbilt.
Bruno Reagan - 6'3", 290 lbs, offensive guard - 3-stars (Rivals and ESPN). Reagan is a powerful guard who gets a good drive from his legs and has the strength to push defenders off the line of scrimmage. His strength shone this winter as he won the Tennessee State Championship as a heavyweight wrestler. Vandy coaches will likely ask him to bulk up a bit more, but he has the making of a solid interior lineman as a young man. He had originally committed to South Florida before deciding to stay in his home state.
Charles Wright - 6'3", 220 lbs, defensive line/outside linebacker - 2-stars (Rivals), NR (ESPN). Mason went to his old recruiting grounds to pick up Wright, a versatile defender who can fill either a linebacking or lineman role in Vandy's new 3-4 defense. Wright had offers across the west coast, and had originally chosen San Jose State before deciding to come east to play his college ball.
Tre Tarpley - 6'0", 191 lbs, safety - 2-stars (Rivals), 3-stars (ESPN). Tarpley will come to Nashville by way of Pittsburgh, where he played for city powerhouse Central Catholic (in the heart of Oakland). He's still adjusting to safety play after starting his high school career as an undersized lineman/linebacker, but that experience has made him a solid tackler with good instincts around the ball. Like Stankavage, Reagan, and Wright, Tarpley also decommited from another program to choose Vanderbilt. The rangy safety spurned Boston College to become a Commodore.
Hawkins Mann - 6'4", 220 lbs, defensive end - 2-stars (Rivals), 3-stars (ESPN). Aside from having an outstanding Vanderbilt name, Mann is also a tough defender who could be used on the line or as a linebacker for Mason's revamped Commodore defense. He chose Vandy after originally committing to Nevada in December.
Davis Winkie - 6'6", 260 lbs, long snapper - NR by Rivals or ESPN. Winkie was one of the top long snappers in the country as a senior this year, and he should slide into Andrew East's role once East graduates in 2015. His commitment comes after highly-rater long snapper Ike Powell decommited from the Commodores to play for Auburn. With Winkie on board, Vanderbilt will have seven snappers on the roster for the 2014 season. Winkie chose Vandy over Yale and Army.