Andrew East was more than just a long snapper at Vanderbilt. His commitment to making Nashville a better place earned him a spot on Allstate's Good Works team and endeared the fifth-year senior to fans across the Commodore nation. On Saturday, hours before playing in his final game with a Star-V on his helmet, he gave Vandy fans one more reason to root for him.
— Andrew East (@AndrewEast34) January 24, 2015
Bennett was a four-star recruit that chose Vanderbilt in an era when decisions like that simply didn't happen. He was an honors student with a tremendous dedication to protecting his family - a dedication that cost the 18-year old his life in 2010. Rajaan Bennett was shot by his mother's ex-boyfriend in a final act of sacrifice that helped keep his mother and younger sister alive. His death sent shockwaves through his hometown of Powder Springs, Georgia that reverberated all the way to Nashville.
That heroic sacrifice set the template for the kind of player that Vanderbilt wants on the football field and in the classroom. Andrew East strove to be that kind of man in his five years in Nashville - five years made possible by Bennett's death. East was the final member of Bobby Johnson's last recruiting class. He was the player that took the scholarship that Rajaan Bennett could never accept.
East's final game as a Commodore closed the loop on the gridiron part of that story Saturday. The senior snapper made sure to let us all know that he understood the gravity of the situation. With one tweet, he showed us how Bennett's memory has lived on through the Vanderbilt Commodores. And while that young hero will no longer have a direct effect on the field in Nashville, his spirit will live on thanks to men like Andrew East.