Hometown: Huntsville, Alabama
High School: Huntsville
Position: Defensive line
Rivals: Three-star recruit
247 Sports: Three-star recruit, #73 defensive tackle, #58 in Alabama, #1359 national
Other offers: Arkansas State, South Alabama, Southern Miss, UAB, USF
Vanderbilt’s first commitment in the 2021 class ended up being one of five signees on the defensive line, and anybody who watched the Vanderbilt defense in 2020 knew that was an area of need.
Defensive line recruits typically fall into one of two buckets. There are the guys who have the size and physicality to play immediately in the SEC (four-star recruit Marcus Bradley falls into this bucket), and then there are the guys who will need a year or two in the weight room before they’re ready to contribute. Tyler Bence, listed at 6’3” and 280 pounds, falls into the second bucket. SEC offensive linemen usually go north of 300 pounds, so a 280-pound defensive tackle is probably going to get pushed around on the interior.
That said, Vanderbilt’s gotten some mileage out of developing defensive tackles like this (see: Drew Birchmeier and Cameron Tidd in recent years), so Bence has a chance to be a contributor down the road. It just probably won’t be in 2021. And that’s fine; Vanderbilt has other defensive linemen to help immediately.