After a 2-10 season it is hard to see immediate improvement for the next couple of seasons, while this case might not be any different there are many reasons to think we could see significant jump this year and next.
One of the highest recruiting classes in Vanderbilt history.
According to 247sports Vanderbilt has the 32nd ranked class heading into the late signing period. with crystal ball predictions for 2 more 3 star players and a player that is not rated those 3 could us up 2 spots from 32 to 30 which is the second highest in the last 10 years only behind the 2013 class that was ranked 26th in the country. now 32 might not sound great they did it all after having a 2-10 season and getting blown out by the likes of Georgia, ETSU, Florida, Mississippi State and THEM. they won many important recruiting battles towards the end of the early signing period too including holding on to Darren Agu while Tennessee tried to make a late push to flip him they also got big commitments from 4 star quarterback AJ Swann (who they flipped for Maryland) and Linebacker Daniel Martin who announced his commitment during the All American game.
The promotion of Joey Lynch to Offensive Coordinator.
While many may not like this move it could provide beneficial this year considering lynch has a whole off-season to create plays for the offense instead of calling plays he didn't create. Also many forget he was a successful OC at Colorado state before coming here to be the quarterback coach he has also has had experience as a coordinator which should put us in a better spot than we had with David Raih.
This year we will have 5 Scholarship quarterbacks on the roster Ken Seals, Mike Wright, AJ Swann, Drew Dickey, and Walter Taylor. this can provide for a very interesting competition as we all saw last year. Ken Seals had some great moments but just was not the same as his freshman year. When Mike Wright was in we got a spark on offense because we had someone who could move around the backfield with ease behind a sub average offensive line but he was not as developed as a thrower as Seals. AJ Swann is a pocket passer that is not afraid to run the ball he has a big arm and can thrown the ball on a dime too his one drawback is the fact that he may be to careless with the football after throwing 20 interceptions in his senior year. Drew Dickey is the 2nd of 3 incoming quarterbacks he has the ability to escape out of the pocket and if he is forced to run he can do so effectively his offense in high school required a lot of rolling out he does not see m to have the best arm though. The final quarterback this year is the latest commit Walter Taylor who is a run first quarterback who has decent passing but nothing that will blow your socks off.
Bright young players
Last season we saw many bright spots in some of the younger players. Patrick Smith the Freshman running back that when Rocko Griffin and Reman Davis got injured stepped into the spotlight and popped off against Florida and created a reliable backup option for the rest of the year and in the running back spot again is Rocko Griffin who ran well all season despite missing a few games but he got progressively better as the season progressed and gives hope to the running back position for the next couple of years. Will Sheppard was one of our leading wide receivers last year and with Chris Pierce and Cam Johnson gone he should provide a consistent first option for the wide outs along with incoming freshmen Davion Walker and Jayden McGowan.
New Coaching Hires
The new coaching Hires of Larry Black for DL, Nick Howell for DB's and Alex Bailey as WR's coach. Larry Black was hired from Toledo where he was the 3rd best recruiter in the conference according to 247sports. Nick Howell the former Virginia defensive coordinator played a major part in recruiting for Virginia when he was there also you can never go wrong with having a defensive coordinator turn into a position coach. Finally there is Alex Bailey who we hired away from Colorado State, I think this is a good hire considering he and Joey lynch have worked together before and can provide a chemistry on the offensive side of the ball.
Increased aggressiveness towards the end of the season
Towards the end of the season anyone could tell that Clark Lea got more aggressive and became less of a defensive coordinator and more of a Head coach by not trying to play the field position game he made many fourth down conversions near the end of the season that helped Vandy stay in some of the closer games like in the ole miss game when he went for it 3 times on fourth down and that helped Vandy keep the game close till the end.
While there are reasons to be pessimistic about the football season this year there are many reasons to be optimistic too. While a bowl game may not be in the direct future improvement will be.