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Projecting Vanderbilt’s 2022 Football Roster: The Returnees

Wherein we talk about who’s coming back next season.

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

With Vanderbilt’s football season over, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2022. The early signing period is a couple of weeks away, but first, we’re going to take a look at who all is returning for the Commodores next season.

As of right now, a total of eight players have entered the transfer portal. I’m assuming those guys are gone, and while the NCAA granted everybody who was on the roster in 2020 an extra year of eligibility, I’m assuming that anybody who has played four years at Vanderbilt — whether they’re a fourth-year player who hasn’t redshirted or a fifth-year senior — is gone as well (with the exception of a couple of guys who I’ve heard are returning); but either way, such a player would not count against Vanderbilt’s scholarship limit were they to return. Here, I will also note any redshirt juniors, who in the past often haven’t returned to Vanderbilt for a fifth year if they aren’t playing much — those players leaving might free up additional scholarships. And of course there may be additional entries into the transfer portal.

So, let’s start.

Quarterbacks

Projected to return: Mike Wright (junior), Ken Seals (junior)

Not returning: Jeremy Moussa

Scholarships: 2

Running Backs

Projected to return: Re’Mahn Davis (redshirt junior), Rocko Griffin (junior), Patrick Smith (sophomore), Dylan Betts-Pauley (redshirt freshman)

Not returning: None

Scholarships: 4

Wide Receivers

Projected to return: Devin Boddie Jr. (redshirt junior), Will Sheppard (junior), Logan Kyle (redshirt sophomore), Quincy Skinner Jr. (sophomore), Gamarion Carter (redshirt freshman), Ezra McAllister (redshirt freshman)

Not returning: Chris Pierce, Tyrell Alexander, Cam Johnson, Amir Abdur-Rahman

Scholarships: 6

Tight Ends

Projected to return: Ben Bresnahan (redshirt senior), Gavin Schoenwald (redshirt senior), Justin Ball (redshirt junior), Joel DeCoursey (redshirt junior), Brayden Bapst (redshirt junior)

Not returning: None

Scholarships: 5

Offensive Line

Projected to return: Tyler Steen (redshirt senior), Julian Hernandez (redshirt junior), Junior Uzebu (redshirt junior), Bradley Ashmore (junior), Ben Cox (junior), Kevo Wesley (redshirt sophomore), Jason Brooks Jr. (redshirt sophomore), Delfin Xavier Castillo (sophomore), Gunnar Hansen (redshirt freshman), Jake Ketschek (redshirt freshman), Gage Pitchford (redshirt freshman)

Not returning: Cole Clemens, Bryce Bailey, Johnathan Stewart

Possible departures: Dan Dawkins

Scholarships: 11 or 12

Defensive Line

Projected to return: Raashaan Wilkins Jr. (redshirt senior), Malik Langham (redshirt senior), Daevion Davis (senior), Derek Green (redshirt junior), Nate Clifton (redshirt junior), Christian James (redshirt junior), Devin Lee (sophomore), Jacques Hunter (redshirt freshman), Tyler Bence (redshirt freshman)

Not returning: Lorenza Surgers, Alex Williams, Marcus Bradley, Tank Sugick

Scholarships: 9

Linebackers

Projected to return: Michael Owusu (super senior), Elijah McAllister (redshirt senior), Anfernee Orji (senior), Ethan Barr (junior), Michael Spencer (redshirt sophomore), Errington Truesdell (sophomore), Michael Mincey (sophomore), Miles Capers (redshirt freshman)

Not returning: Brayden DeVault-Smith, Feleti Afemui

Possible departures: Alston Orji

Scholarships: 7 or 8 (note: Owusu doesn’t count against the scholarship limit)

Defensive Backs

Projected to return: Maxwell Worship (super senior), Dashaun Jerkins (redshirt senior), Jaylen Mahoney (senior), Justin Harris (redshirt junior), Chase Lloyd (junior), De’Rickey Wright (redshirt sophomore), Tyson Russell (sophomore), James Ziglor III (sophomore), CJ Taylor (sophomore), John Howse IV (redshirt freshman), Marlen Sewell (redshirt freshman), Alan Wright (redshirt freshman)

Not returning: Gabe Jeudy, Brendon Harris, Allan George

Possible departures: BJ Anderson

Scholarships: 11 or 12 (Worship doesn’t count)

Specialists

Projected to return: Joseph Bulovas (super senior), Jared Wheatley (redshirt junior), Wesley Schelling (redshirt sophomore)

Not returning: None

Possible departures: Harrison Smith

Scholarships: 2 or 3


As of right now, the total scholarship count is anywhere from 57 to 61 depending on some decisions by fourth-year juniors who have an additional year left but may not use it (or may enter the transfer portal.) In the case of punter Harrison Smith (and possibly even Jared Wheatley), you can probably read something into the fact that Vanderbilt has a scholarship punter committed in the 2022 class; it seems unlikely that Vanderbilt would carry three punters on scholarship, though kicker Joseph Bulovas (who hasn’t announced his return, but you can kind of assume based on the fact that Vanderbilt isn’t bringing in a kicker this year) not counting against the limit mitigates that somewhat.

Because eight players have already entered the transfer portal, under the new NCAA rule, Vanderbilt could bring in as many as 32 players in the entering class — but, unless some additional players enter the portal, the Commodores will run up against the 85-man overall limit. There are a handful of underclassmen who could leave, but I don’t want to make any projections at the moment.

Coming soon: a look at the incoming class and where Vanderbilt still needs to add players.