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Vanderbilt football roster reset: Signing Day and the Portal

This post will be updated.

Syndication: The Tennessean George Walker IV / / USA TODAY NETWORK

With the season over, the transfer portal open, and signing day coming up in a couple of weeks, here’s a look at Vanderbilt’s roster of scholarship football players and possible areas of need.

(Class year is, to the best of my knowledge, their year in school for the 2023 season. An asterisk next to a senior indicates that the player has an additional year due to COVID.)


Out of eligibility: None

In transfer portal (1): Mike Wright

Currently on roster (4): Ken Seals (R-Jr.), AJ Swann (So.), Walter Taylor (R-Fr.), Drew Dickey (R-Fr.)

Current commits: None

Wright’s decision to transfer (and Seals’ likely decision, though he hasn’t entered the portal as of this writing) means that Vanderbilt won’t have an experienced backup behind presumptive started AJ Swann, and it’s not likely to find one in the portal, either, before you ask — few guys are going to come in to a situation where they’ll be a backup barring injury.

Running Back

Out of eligibility: None

In transfer portal (3): Ray Davis, Maurice Edwards, Rocko Griffin

Currently on roster (3): Patrick Smith (Jr.), Dylan Betts-Pauley (R-So.), Chase Gillespie (R-Fr.)

Current commits (3): Sedrick Alexander, AJ Newberry, Deago Benson

Well, this is a thin position group, isn’t it? It gets even thinner when you realize that Betts-Pauley didn’t see the field at all in 2022 after redshirting in 2021, in spite of the mess at the running back position behind Ray Davis. That’s... telling. I would bet on Vanderbilt taking another running back or two, possibly with one of them coming by way of the portal. (UPDATE: Vanderbilt has in fact added another running back, flipping AJ Newberry from Colorado.)

Wide Receiver

Out of eligibility: None

In transfer portal (1): Devin Boddie Jr.

Currently on roster (7): Quincy Skinner Jr. (Jr.), Will Sheppard (Sr.), Jayden McGowan (So.), Logan Kyle (R-Jr.), Ezra McAllister (R-So.), Gamarion Carter (R-So.), Daveon Walker (R-Fr.)

Current commits (3): London Humphreys, Duran Parish, Junior Sherrill

There are a lot of bodies here, with Sheppard being a good receiver and Skinner, McGowan, and Carter all having upside, but then you have three scholarship guys returning who haven’t contributed much (if anything) at Vanderbilt. The current group of four commits is pretty promising.

Tight End

Declared for NFL Draft: Ben Bresnahan

In transfer portal (1): Joel DeCoursey

Currently on roster (3): Gavin Schoenwald (R-Sr.*), Justin Ball (R-Sr.), Cole Spence (R-Fr.)

Current commits (1): Kamrean Johnson

Johnson is listed on 247 Sports as a wide receiver but Vanderbilt recruited him to play tight end, so I’m listing him here. Ball has already announced he’s returning, so this really comes down to Schoenwald (and Pimpton, who has some big names sniffing around right now.) If both are in the fold, I think this is a fine group.

Offensive Line

Out of eligibility: Jacob Brammer

In transfer portal: None

Currently on roster (12): Bradley Ashmore (Sr.), Gunnar Hansen (R-So.), Jake Ketschek (R-So.), Leyton Nelson (R-Fr.), Julian Hernandez (R-Sr.), Delfin Xavier Castillo (Jr.), David Siegel (R-Fr.), Gage Pitchford (R-So.), Levi Harber (R-Fr.), Ben Cox (Sr.), Grayson Morgan (R-Fr.), Junior Uzebu (R-Sr.)

Current commits (4): Anthony Miles, Cooper Starks, Barrett Maddox, Misael Sandoval

We’ll see if there’s any attrition out of this group. As it stands, this seems fine. Vanderbilt loses the experienced Brammer, who used his COVID year to transfer in from North Texas, but so far there aren’t any other losses.

Defensive Line

Out of eligibility: Myles Cecil

In transfer portal (2): Elijah McAllister, Malik Langham

Currently on roster (10): Daevion Davis (R-Jr.), Tyler Bence (R-So.), Nate Clifton (R-Sr.), Christian James (R-Sr.), Bradley Mann (R-Fr.), Linus Zunk (R-Fr.), Kevo Wesley (R-Jr.), Yilanan Ouattara (So.), Devin Lee (Jr.), Brayden Bapst (R-Sr.)

Current commits (2): De’Marion Thomas, Ted Gregoire

There are a lot of bodies here (I’m doing the “Star” position separately), but it’s notable that there are still a lot of Mason recruits kicking around here — some of whom are likely graduating. That said, the fact that so far the staff has only taken two commitments here suggests that they probably don’t expect much attrition, though we haven’t heard anything from Elijah McAllister or Malik Langham about whether they’ll use the COVID year to return in 2023. (UPDATE: McAllister has entered the transfer portal.)

Star/Edge Rusher

Out of eligibility: Michael Owusu

In transfer portal: None

Currently on roster (3): Miles Capers (R-So.), Darren Agu (So.), BJ Diakite (So.)

Current commits (1): Evan Herrmann

Keep in mind, Miles Capers was expected to start in 2022 — and then, he missed the entire season. This is a pretty specialized position that won’t have a ton of bodies either way; those three are a pretty good group.


Out of eligibility: None

Declared for NFL Draft: Anfernee Orji

In transfer portal (1): Daniel Martin

Currently on roster (5): Errington Truesdell (R-So.), Kane Patterson (Sr.*), Ethan Barr (Sr.), Langston Patterson (So.), Bryce Cowan (R-Fr.)

Current commits (2): Ethan Crisp, Jailen Ruth, Aeneas DiCosmo

The big waiting game here is what Anfernee Orji will do; he could return with the COVID year, he could enter the portal, or he could go to the NFL. I really don’t know the answer to that. I would be surprised if any of the others leave, though.


Out of eligibility: None

In transfer portal: None

Currently on roster (2): C.J. Taylor (Jr.), De’Rickey Wright (R-Jr.)

Current commits: None

C.J. Taylor has already announced he’s back. So, we’re good here.


Out of eligibility: Jeremy Lucien

In transfer portal: None

Currently on roster (7): Tyson Russell (Jr.), BJ Anderson (R-Sr.*), Gumbo Gaskins (R-Fr.), Trudell Berry (R-Fr.), Jameson Wharton (R-Fr.), Alan Wright (R-So.), Ja’Dais Richard (So.)

Current commits (1): Martel Hight

BJ Anderson has the COVID year available if he wants to come back, but even if he and Jeremy Lucien are both gone, Vanderbilt has Tyson Russell (six starts) and Ja’Dais Richard (one start) returning and should be fine here. And the youngsters here all have upside.


Out of eligibility: Max Worship

Medical retirement: Justin Harris

In transfer portal: Chase Lloyd

Currently on roster (6): Jaylen Mahoney (Sr.*), Marlen Sewell (R-So.), John Howse IV (R-So.), Steven Sannieniola (So.), Savion Riley (R-Fr.), Jeffrey Ugochukwu (So.)

Current commits (2): Dante Kelly, Jalen Gilbert

Like the cornerbacks group, this has a bunch of youngsters with upside in addition to a solid fifth-year player in Jaylen Mahoney, who’s already announced his return. The numbers thin out a bit with Harris’ medical retirement and Lloyd (who showed promise before running into injury issues the last couple of years) both on their way out of the progam.


Out of eligibility: Joseph Bulovas

In transfer portal: Jared Wheatley

Currently on roster (2): Matthew Hayball (R-Sr.*), Wesley Schelling (R-Jr.)

Current commits (1): Brock Taylor

These are just the scholarship players; this being the special teams unit, of course, non-scholarship kicker Will Faris could win the starting placekicker job for all I know, but Brock Taylor is getting the hell out of Knoxville to be the scholarship kicker here. Matthew Hayball does have another year if he wants it and I have no idea what Vanderbilt does at punter if he leaves.

Current scholarship count: 84

Current scholarships available: 1

I’d be shocked if there weren’t additional movement (and we may get some answers from some of the guys who only have eligibility remaining with the free COVID year.)