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Vanderbilt Spring Football Kickoff, Part II: Predictions. Which QB will get left out in '16?

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What positions will shine? And which overlooked players are going to break out in 2016's first practices?

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

That's five reasons to be excited for Vanderbilt football starting this spring, and now I am going to hit you with five predictions...not for the regular season but just for the spring itself and the spring game.  Along the way the staff at Anchor of Gold will be bringing you position previews of every position on both offense and defense, leading up until the game itself on March 25th.  So without waiting too much longer, here are the five predictions/players you need to be on the lookout for come March 25th.

Prediction Number One: Wade Freebeck is going to be given a reason to transfer

I hate making this prediction, I really hate it.  But Coach Mason in his first day on the practice field talked about how hard both Kyle Shurmur and Shawn Stankavage worked today and in the winter.  Something seems off about that...like he's missing one of his returning quarterbacks by the name of Wade Freebeck?  Could just be an oversight, but I feel like this might be Wade Freebeck's last chance.  We talk about Deuce Wallace pushing Kyle Shurmur but very rarely do we mention Freebeck doing the same...why is that?  His arm is way stronger, he as a quarterback is way bigger, but Shurmur grew up in the home of a coach he just gets it.

I feel like Wade Freebeck needs to have one hell of a spring to not only save his chance at starting against South Carolina, but to also save his chance of not being replaced by Deuce Wallace.  I expect all four quarterbacks to have a great day in the spring game, but I think Shurmur and Wallace will stand out while Stankavage will be steady and consistent and Freebeck struggles making defensive reads...I hope I'm wrong, because Freebeck is a good kid.

Prediction Number Two: Josh Crawford, Dallas Rivers, or Jaire George has a huge day

I don't expect Ralph Webb to play a ton of snaps.  But I do expect Dallas Rivers, Josh Crawford, and Jaire George to play a ton of snaps offensively.  One of them will step up and have a huge day, which one does it I am not sure but one of them will.  I'm inclined to lean towards Josh Crawford because he overtook the role last season and I thought Dallas Rivers would have a huge year last year and he proved me way wrong.

But, I can't sleep on Jaire George. He appears to be in great shape and his father was one of the best running backs in the NFL for a prolonged period of time.  Even then, I expect all three to remind us that Ralph Webb isn't the only running back on this roster and that we will have a balanced rushing attack coming up this fall.

Prediction Number Three: Wide Receivers Grow, Tight Ends Shine

I think we will see our wide outs have a consistently good game.  Nothing great, nothing flashy, but a steady and strong game.  But I think the tight ends are going to set it on fire...one tight end sticks out in Jared Pinkney.  We've seen what kind of skills former wide receivers can have when moved to tight end.  This physical freak I expect to see haul in at least one touchdown and several passes.  Marcus and Dowling were solid in their appearances last season as well, which gives me hope.

Prediction Number Four: The Offensive Line Is Better, But Not As Good As It Will Be

This has a lot to do with Auwae coming in at Center, but I think the added depth and people getting healthy on the line will really help us out greatly.  Skule will be back at full strength after playing as a true freshman, plus Southers and Pfeifer will add to the amount of depth at the position.  I expect to see Bruno Reagan chip in some on the line, and did I mention we're getting back our top lineman in Andrew Jelks?  If we can find some interior guards to play along with those tackles and Auwae you're going to be dealing with some serious power on that line.  It's slowly becoming what they get at Stanford and Wisconsin, slowly.

Prediction Number Five: The Front Seven Is Still Scary

Despite Odeyingbo and Josh Smith moving to new positions, I expect that defense to still bring the hammer.  I'm excited to see Odeyingbo playing up front in a 5-technique role.  I expect to see Nifae jumping in on several plays and making a strong case to be the starting nose tackle.  Bowden and Cunningham will make life miserable for the opposing offense, but expect to see Jordan Griffin (ILB from Armwood, Florida) and Caleb Peart (OLB Chandler, Arizona) in the backfield a lot.  Griffin is the fastest linebacker in the SEC and at 215 lbs could make a case to play safety, but this is his first spring game.  Don't be surprised if Adam Butler, Jonathon Wynn, and Nifae are in the backfield a lot on the 25th.  I'm curious to see who the starting linebackers will be, as Josh Smith could make a case to be on the outside if he has a great spring.

Bonus Prediction: Either Zaire Jones, Joejuan Williams, or Donovan Sheffield Has An Interception

We've done well getting four star defensive backs lately, so my big prediction for them is that one of them will have an interception and might even return it for a touchdown.  I've been impressed by all of their film, so don't be shocked if we see them push our current starting corners for playing time, especially with Joejuan missing his senior year of high school.

That's all I got for now, be sure to check out some of the practices the next couple of weeks and get your tickets early for March 25th at Vanderbilt Stadium.  These young men need all the support they can get and they need to know that the whole city of Nashville is ANCHORED DOWN!