Stanford tight end Davis Dudchock's decision to decommit from Vanderbilt as a high school senior meant passing up bowl trips to Birmingham and Memphis for Fiesta and Rose Bowl appearances. Now, nearly five years later, he's rectifying that mistake.
Dudchock has decided to follow new Vandy head coach Derek Mason from Palo Alto to Nashville. He'll finish his NCAA career with a postgraduate season playing tight end for the Vanderbilt Commodores. Since he's already graduated from Stanford, he'll be eligible to play for Mason this fall - a move that will bolster an underwhelming TE corps on West End.
The 6'4", 242 pound athlete had originally committed to Vanderbilt and then-coach Bobby Johnson in June of 2009. However, the Birmingham, Alabama recruit had a change of heart after the 'Dores got off to a 2-9 start in what would be Johnson's final year at the helm. He chose Jim Harbaugh and the west coast that November and has regretted it ever since (probably).
Dudchock didn't see much playing time with the Cardinal, but much of that can be attributed to the presence of the two All-Americans in front of him on the depth chart. The 6'5" pass catcher was stuck behind Coby Fleener and Zach Ertz, players who now start for NFL teams, for three of his seasons at Stanford. All five of his career receptions came in 2013.
Those five catches would have ranked him second amongst Vandy tight ends last season; redshirt sophomore Steven Scheu led the team with nine. While Scheu is poised to have a bigger presence under new offensive coordinator Karl Dorrell, it's clear that the 'Dores could use all the help they can get at the position. Dudchock will battle with Scheu and senior Dillon van der Wal for snaps this fall.
Dudchock may not have the kind of impact that transfers Jordan Rodgers and Austyn Carta-Samuels have had for the team in recent years, but he'll add valuable depth at a position of need for the 'Dores this fall. He'll have the opportunity to grow into a big role for a first-year coach with whom he has a history. If Mason and his staff can find a way to incorporate Dudchock's athleticism into a passing game that will have to be tailored to a new starting quarterback, the Stanford transfer could be an under-the-radar addition for Vanderbilt.