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2015 Vanderbilt Football Roster: Who's Gone, Who's Back, and How Does 2016 Look?

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A look at the latest Vanderbilt Football roster shows a lot of departures from last year's 3-9 team. Can a still-growing lineup lead the Commodores back to a bowl game? We take a closer look at each position on the team's offense.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Spring practice is underway in Nashville, and that means that the latest version of the Vanderbilt Commodores' football roster has been published and is ready for analysis. The listing is missing a lot of names that the Vandy faithful have gotten accustomed to hearing and there are only a few new faces to replace them before this February's recruiting class rolls in.

Fortunately, we can start counting those chickens before they hatch. Thanks to National Signing Day we have a pretty good idea of which high school players will be continuing their football careers at Natchez Trace. Today, we'll break down where the Vanderbilt roster stands after last year's 3-9 campaign.

First, here's all the scholarship players from 2014 that either graduated or otherwise left the program leading up to 2015.

Departing Scholarship Players Position Reason?
Casey Hughes"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Casey Hughes LB/DB Graduated
Andrew East"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Andrew East SN Graduated
Barron Dixon"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Barron Dixon DL Graduated
Andrew Bridges"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Andrew Bridges OL Graduated
Vince Taylor"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Vince Taylor DL Graduated
Joe Townsend"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Joe Townsend OL Graduated
Davis Dudchock"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Davis Dudchock TE Graduated
Dillon van der Wal TE Graduated
Kyle Woestmann"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Kyle Woestmann DE/LB Graduated
Trey Wilkins WR Graduated
Stephen Rivers"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Stephen Rivers QB Returned to his home planet
Brian Kimbrow"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Brian Kimbrow RB Dismissed
Jerron Seymour"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Jerron Seymour RB Dismissed
Paris Head"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Paris Head CB Quit football altogether
Josh Grady"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Josh Grady QB/WR Graduated, declined final year of eligibility
Taylor Hudson"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Taylor Hudson* P Graduated, declined final year of eligibility
Jimmy Stewart"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Jimmy Stewart LB/DE Graduated, declined final year of eligibility
Derek King"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Derek King RB Graduated, declined final year of eligibility
Gerald Perry WR Transferred (Junior College)
Hawkins Mann LB No longer on roster
Mitchell Parsons TE Transferred (Colorado State)
Jordan Cunningham WR Left the program
Mack Weaver TE No longer on roster

There are 23 players that were on the Vandy roster to begin 2014 that won't play for the team this fall. The majority of these athletes were either departing seniors or high profile dismissals like Brian Kimbrow or Jerron Seymour. A few of the players that aren't on the 2015 spring roster are surprises. Linebacker Hawkins Mann made an impact early on as a true freshman, but he isn't listed with his teammates. Neither are a handful of fifth-year players who still had remaining seasons of NCAA eligibility. Josh Grady, Taylor Hudson, Jimmy Stewart, and Derek King were slated for small roles as backups this fall and decided to move on after graduating.

Those 23 departing players will be replaced by the 18 debuting athletes from the recruiting class of 2015. A quick look at the roster gives us this estimate of scholarship players for the upcoming season.

Offensive Scholarship Players: 42

Defensive Scholarship Players: 37

Special Teams Scholarship Players (estimate): 3

This estimate leaves Vandy three scholarships under the 85-person limit for Division I football teams, but this count may not have accounted for walk-ons that have played their way to a tuition check like Marc Panu did in 2012. As a result, this spring and summer could be very important for some hard-working scout team players.

Meanwhile, the Commodore offense is stocked with young talent but short on veteran leadership for 2015. Vandy has only three seniors that will see significant playing time this fall - Kris Kentera, Steven Scheu, and Jake Bernstein. 30 of the team's 42 offensive scholarship players have one year of NCAA experience or less.

Here's a position-by-position breakdown of how Vanderbilt looks as the season looms:

The Vanderbilt Offense:

Quarterback

Quarterbacks (5) Year
Patton Robinette"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Patton Robinette RS Jr.
Johnny McCrary RS So.
Wade Freebeck So.
Shawn Stankavage RS Fr.
Kyle Shurmur Fr.

Players for 2016: Five.

Vanderbilt will return three of the four players who started at quarterback in 2014. Only Stephen Rivers has left the team. Barring another early departure, they'll bring back every passer on the roster in 2016.

Running Back

Running Backs (5) Year
Darrius Sims RS Jr.
Ralph Webb RS So.
Dallas Rivers So.
Jaire George Fr.
Josh Crawford Fr.

Players for 2016: Five.

Like at quarterback, the Commodores will rely on five players who will be eligible to return to the team in 2016. However, Vandy is less equipped at the position. Sims is a convert from cornerback and George is an under-the-radar prospect that barely snuck onto recruiting boards this spring. They'll need Ralph Webb to be a steady workhorse once again in 2015.

Fullback

Fullbacks (1) Year
Ladarius Banks RS So.

Players for 2016: One.

Fullbacks traditionally do little in Vanderbilt's offensive schemes besides block. Throwing a former defensive lineman at oncoming linebackers should be a lot of fun, at the very least.

Wide Receiver

Wide Receivers (11) Year
Kris Kentera Sr.
Latevius Rayford Jr.
Chandler Dorrell RS So.
C.J. Duncan RS So.
DeAndre Woods RS So.
Trey Ellis So.
Caleb Scott So.
Trent Sherfield So.
Ronald Monroe RS Fr.
Rashad Canty RS Fr.
Jared Pinkney Fr.

Players for 2016: 10.

Vanderbilt's receiving corps...how do I put this delicately?...needed some work in 2014. For instance:

Thanks, Karl! That will put plenty of pressure on players like Rayford, Duncan, and Kentera to break out under new offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig. There's plenty of depth here. Vandy lost four wideouts from 2014 and will still have 11 scholarship players vying for snaps this fall. If Vandy can finally introduce some consistency at quarterback then we'll see much greater contributions at WR in 2015.

Tight Ends

Tight End (5) Year
Steven Scheu Sr.
Nathan Marcus RS So.
Sean Dowling RS So.
Sam Dobbs Fr.
Kyle Anderton Fr.

Players for 2016: Four.

Steven Scheu had a breakout season in Mason's tight end-heavy offense last season. He more than doubled his career statistics and led the Commodores in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. Things get a bit thin after him thanks to the departures of Davis Dudchock, Dillon van der Wal, and Mitch Parsons. Nathan Marcus showed off solid hands and a knack for getting to the end zone, but there's a definite lack of experience behind Vandy's top two tight ends.

Offensive Line

Offensive Line (15) Year
Jake Bernstein Sr.
Spencer Pulley"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Spencer Pulley RS Jr.
Kevin McCoy"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Kevin McCoy RS Jr.
Andrew Jelks"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Andrew Jelks Jr.
Blake Fromang"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Blake Fromang Jr.
Barrett Gouger"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Barrett Gouger Jr.
Will Holden"]" style="padding: 2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align: bottom;">Will Holden Jr.
Delando Crooks RS So.
Bailey Granier RS Fr.
Bruno Reagan RS Fr.
Cole Hardin RS Fr.
Darien DeBrossard Fr.
Ean Pfeifer Fr.
Justin Skule Fr.
Jared Southers Fr.

Players for 2016: 14.

Vandy has a lot of emerging talent in the trenches, which is encouraging when you recall how poorly this unit played last season. Former state wrestling champion Bruno Reagan is up to 330 pounds after weighing in at around 290 in high school. Will Holden rounded into a solid starter after taking over for Andrew Bridges last year. Now, the 'Dores will hope Keven Lightner is the right man to mold this group into one of the SEC's most effective units.

Tomorrow, we'll dig into the defense and figure out where Vanderbilt is stacked on the other side of the ball. Spoiler alert: there's a lot more young guys to sort through.