We’ve updated Vanderbilt football’s scholarship chart following the early signing period, in which the Commodores signed fifteen players. You can see below, and some notes to follow. (An asterisk indicates that the player has previously used a redshirt year.)
Vanderbilt Football Scholarship Chart
|Devin Boddie Jr.*
|James Bostic Jr.*
- So, the first, most obvious thing to point out: that number in the bottom right corner. If nobody else leaves the program, Vanderbilt will have 87 players on scholarship next season, two over the 85-man scholarship limit. And note that this doesn’t include Will Sheppard and Donovan Kaufman, neither of whom signed last week. I can’t say that I expect Kaufman to sign in February, and I really have no idea what is going on with Sheppard, who committed Tuesday night.
- So, where am I looking for departures? The usual place to look are fifth-year seniors who aren’t playing much; often, these guys simply move on with their lives (especially if they’ve already graduated.) That list included Carlton Lorenz and Josiah Sa’o, both of whom have already left, and it still includes Jackson Winrow, Braden Kopp, and Austin Quillen. Also, I don’t expect Vanderbilt to carry five quarterbacks into the fall, so I’m expecting either Deuce Wallace or Allan Walters to leave.
- I think I have all of the redshirts from 2019 correct. Keyon Brooks, Daevion Davis, Jaylen Mahoney, and Anfernee Orji were the four true freshmen last year who didn’t redshirt. Somewhat surprisingly, I guess, Alston Orji only played in four games as a true sophomore, thus getting a year of eligibility back (and honestly, he probably should have redshirted in 2018 given how little he actually played.)
All right, let’s break things down by positions.
- See above about the quarterbacks. Jeremy Moussa and Ken Seals will be early enrollees and will be in for spring practice, and if I had to handicap the quarterback race right now, I’d go with Moussa for the simple reason that he has college experience and everything else being equal, I’d prefer to redshirt both of the freshmen (and, of course, you could stagger their playing time to redshirt both while playing both of them in four games if you wanted.) I don’t mean to completely write off the two incumbents, but, well, we saw them in 2019.
- Five running backs is a little light, so I wouldn’t be too shocked to see Vanderbilt try to add another in February. With that said, I like the group coming back. Jamauri Wakefield basically didn’t play in 2019, which meant Keyon Brooks and Ja’Veon Marlow got more experience than they would have otherwise (and I like what I saw out of Brooks.) And JR Tran-Reno could make a splash after redshirting.
- Ditto the receiving corps, where Kalija Lipscomb is gone, but there’s some talent coming up. Cam Johnson started to show why he was a highly-regarded recruit last season, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Logan Kyle plays early and often. Will Sheppard should join this group as well.
- The tight ends are young. If Vanderbilt doesn’t make much use of the tight end position in 2020, it won’t be nearly as criminal as it was in 2019 — that said, I like Ben Bresnahan and Gavin Schoenwald here.
- The offensive line, well... you have a solid set of tackles in Devin Cochran and Tyler Steen (and a capable backup in Johnathan Stewart, as well), but the interior of the line was a problem area in 2019. Perhaps Julian Hernandez will be ready after a redshirt year, but that group has to get better. Brayden Bapst and Don Fitzgerald were intriguing prospects in the 2019 class, but I doubt either is ready next year, and anyway Vanderbilt doesn’t need help at tackle.
- Vanderbilt lost out on Jordan Butler, but there’s some (ahem) incoming talent coming in on the defensive line with Malik Langham and Derek Green both becoming eligible after transferring from, respectively, Florida and Oklahoma. Daevion Davis showed promise as a true freshman, too, and of course Dayo Odeyingbo is the rock here.
- There’s been kind of a “Waiting for Godot” aspect of the soon-to-be junior linebackers. That was a group that we were somewhat excited about in 2017, but Colin Anderson has been healthy basically never since he’s been at Vanderbilt, and we’re still waiting on Dimitri Moore to live up to his promise (injuries have been an issue there as well, though they haven’t kept him off the field.) On the other hand, Elijah McAllister looks like he could be a future star. (De’Rickey Wright is listed here, though I’m not sure he’ll actually play linebacker.)
- I don’t really know what to make of the defensive backs. That’s an area where Derek Mason has actually recruited relatively well, at least if you looked at the recruiting rankings, and yet now it seems like a rather nondescript group. Of course, a couple of the sophomores (specifically Dashaun Jerkins and Jaylen Mahoney) look like future stars, and this group was without Frank Coppet for most of 2019.
- As far as the specialists go, punter Harrison Smith isn’t listed here because he’s a walk-on. Smith certainly did nothing to lose his job in 2019, so this is an interesting group to watch in 2020; you may end up with the two scholarship kickers competing for place-kicking duties with Smith holding down the punting duties.