Jacob Free is officially a Commodore. The three-star quarterback from Brantley, AL signed his letter of intent Wednesday morning, cementing his status as one of the program’s most promising young pieces on offense.
Free chose Vanderbilt over scholarship offers from Louisville, Marshall, Temple, and Memphis. The Commodores survived a late push from recent rivals Western Kentucky to hold on to the talented passer, who originally committed to the team last June.
The strong-armed quarterback showcased a deft touch with his deep ball, and at 6’5 has the size and strength to be a commanding presence in the pocket. He also has solid straight-line speed, and while he’ll never be the kind of runner who can juke linebackers out of their cleats, he has the vision to pull the ball down and take off for a first down when the coverage allows.
He’ll have some time to work his way up a dense depth chart at QB. Kyle Shurmur will go into 2017 as the team’s starter, but senior Wade Freebeck will be given the opportunity to prove his worth as he enters his final season with the team. Behind them, Shawn Stankavage and Deuce Wallace will compete for the team’s third-string role.
That array of passers means a redshirt freshman year could be in store for Free, who could stand to add some muscle before staring down SEC pass rushes. The Alabama quarterback could well be the jewel of the team’s 2017 recruiting class when it comes to the Vanderbilt offense. It may just take a while before he gets his chance to shine at Dudley Field.