Vanderbilt, like most schools in the SEC, is coming off another successful signing day. Out of over 18 recruits, five are hometown guys, and three are rated four-star recruits. Two made it to ESPN’s 300.
There are certain standout positions that can change the season and have an immediate impact on the team. A guy who can nail down a few important sacks consistently can shake things up on the field. Meanwhile, a player with the ability to find the ball in his possession when the situation points against it can be a staple in the team. The positions themselves don't make the impact-- the players do, and it's up to these recruits to show they can have an immediate impact.
Shurmur, a 6-4 215 lb recruit out of Philadelphia, shows the size and strength to be an SEC quarterback-in-the-making for this Commodore football team. With some action on the field, he has the arm to throw deep, and with some experienced receivers he can shape up to be an immediate backup if injuries plague the veterans. Although he brings depth, I wouldn't put him too high up the "immediate impact" list, unless he comes up clutch in some shortcoming quarterback situations. Nonetheless, Shurmur brings Philadelphia a lot closer to Nashville because his dad is an offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles. At the very least, this may have an immediate impact on a new kind of influence on the team. (But, really though, whose dad isn't an NFL offensive coordinator these days?)
Smith is originally from Murfreesboro and chose to stay close to home over many impressive offers. Another ESPN top 300 recruit, this ILB picked Vanderbilt over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma, Oregon, Ole Miss and Georgia. At 6-3, 234 lbs, Smith shows some size, but not too much to keep him from being quick. He is nimble and can maneuver through to reach his targets. His style is not something you see in SEC football recently, which could be a good or bad thing, but he may change the impact of the season if he succeeds.
Vanderbilt signed five hometown-heroes from in or around the Nashville area. Along with Josh Smith, the Dores acquired other guys, like S Andrew Rector from Father Ryan HS, Jay Hockaday from Christ Presbyterian, DB Donovan Sheffield out of Ensworth, and TE Kyle Anderton who went to Station Camp in Hendersonville. Out of the remaining Nashville natives, the most notable you could expect to hear about in the future would be Sheffield and Anderton. Sheffield is a two-way starter that helped Ensworth to a couple state championships, while racking up some impressive skills as the state triple jump champion. Anderton, on the other hand, was a two-sport star as a quarterback and center on the basketball team. His versatility is something to keep an eye on… It might come in handy for Vanderbilt in the near future.
Happily chalk this up to another successful recruiting year for Mason and the Commodores, which has been an uphill battle that is steadily improving. With new faces to watch out for, the new additions give depth to the roster and some new options for the future.