A big WR commitment - 6'5", 225 lb Jared Pinkney - was the latest domino to fall as the 2015 recruiting season kicked into high gear. We are fewer than two weeks away from National Signing Day, and Derek Mason's second class of high school athletes is beginning to take form. The Commodores have 17 players on their ledger and are in a heated race to add several more.
Vanderbilt will be flush with young talent in 2015, but there are plenty of gaps in the depth chart that some of the nation's elite prospects can fill. Mason didn't shy away from playing the guys he brought to Nashville last fall and pushed 10 true freshman into game action. With few starting jobs written in stone, assistants like offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig and cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght can sell an opportunity for instant playing time at Dudley Field.
So who is Mason and his new and improved coaching staff targeting? We've got a breakdown of some of the team's recent developments on the recruiting trail:
- Murfreesboro (Tn.) Oakland linebacker Josh Smith remains a Vanderbilt commit and visited on January 16th for a big recruiting weekend. He plans on checking out Oklahoma too.
- San Diego (Ca.) Del Norte cornerback Quenton Meeks has a final five of Stanford, Vanderbilt, Cal, Washington and ASU, and dispelled rumors of an early commitment. A Stanford visit still looms.
- Seffner (Fla.) Armwood LB Jordan Griffin is a Wisconsin pledge, but he officially visited South Florida ($) on January 16th. Vanderbilt is getting a visit as well and Nebraska might also get a chance. Oregon State also offered. Armwood has been one of Vandy's recruiting destinations in recent years and has produced two current Commodores - WR Josh Grady and OL Kevin McCoy. Derek Mason will be leaning on both of them to paint a rosy picture of Nashville in the coming weeks.
- San Diego (Ca.) St. Augustine defensive back Frank Buncom IV will make his decision on January 28th between Cal, Notre Dame, Stanford and Vanderbilt. More here.
- Three-star Birmingham (Al.) Hoover tailback Bradrick Shaw visited the Commodores this weekend. He also has offers from Alabama, Wisconsin, Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Nebraska.
- Norcross (Ga.) receiver Jared Pinkney has visits to Vanderbilt, Missouri, and Florida ($) (received an offer from the Gators) this month. He committed to the Commodores on Tuesday, but remember - nothing is set in stone until signing day (and even then...).
- Millbrook (N.C.) running back Marcus Marshall will announce on January 27, deciding between Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, N.C. State or James Madison. Vanderbilt really wants him ($).
- Washington County (Ga.) outside linebacker Logan Hunt is a Georgia Southern commit, but Vanderbilt is picking things up and they’re ready to check things out.
Many thanks to CalGoldenBlogs's Avinash Kunnath for putting together the bulk of this excellent list. Fewer thanks go to me for failing to get it up before Jared Pinkney's commitment earlier this week.