Vanderbilt got a commitment from a coveted three-star safety - only it wasn't Derek Mason earning the pledge. Commodore baseball coach Tim Corbin landed All-American outfielder Thomas Jones on Monday, prying him from programs like Notre Dame and Clemson in the process.
Jones had visited Vanderbilt back in June as a possible dual-sport enrollee. He's expected to focus primarily on the diamond rather than the gridiron when he arrives in Nashville next fall. The South Carolinian is currently the #308 prospect in his class, according to Perfect Game. At 6'3" and 190 pounds, he'll bring speed and power to the Commodore lineup.
Corbin will have to fight on two fronts to keep his latest recruit. Jones is a rising prospect who will turn heads in the spring and the fall thanks to his reputation as a rangy safety for Laurens District 55 school. He has football offers from Notre Dame, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forest and is rated as a top 25 safety by 247Sports. A big senior year would increase the national focus on the Under Armour All-American.
Jones joins a stacked recruiting class that also features standouts like Jason Groome and Ian Anderson. However, much of Corbin's effort could be for naught if the team's incoming stars get snapped up in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Though the team was able to retain a major piece of its 2015 talent, the 'Dores still lost four valuable prospects - Nolan Watson, Triston McKenzie, Bryce Denton, and Darryl Wilson - to professional contracts this summer. As exciting as Jones's commitment is, there's no guarantee that he ever steps foot on Hawkins Field as a Vanderbilt Commodore.