SEC Media day was quite the adventure for Derek Mason on his second go round in Hoover. Just hours after speaking, Coach Mason and his staff received their 9th commit for the 2016 class. Turner Cockrell, a tight end from from Allatoona HS in Acworth, GA, anchored down on Tuesday afternoon. This was big news after receiving some not so good news last night when Vandy target Damarea Crockett committed to Boise State over the Commodores. Cockrell broke the news on his Twitter:
I am officially committed to Vanderbilt. Thank you to all the coaches who gave me a chance and recruited me up until this point.#AnchorDown— Turner Cockrell (@Turner_Cockrell) July 14, 2015
Over the last several years, Georgia has become a hotbed for future Commodores, and that statement gained more evidence with the addition of Cockrell, the second Georgia native to join the 2016 class. Turner chose to #AnchorDown over other reported offers from Air Force, Eastern Carolina, and Pitt among several other schools. According to 247Sports, Cockrell is rated as a 3-star recruit, and a top 60 TE nationally.
Looking at his extensive junior highlights, several things stand out. From the moment the tape starts, it becomes apparent that Cockrell has experience at the point of attack when it comes to run blocking. His football instincts jump out at times, and that will definitely help lessen the learning curve for him when he gets to Nashville next fall. In the passing game, Cockrell has the potential to become a security blanket for Johnny McCrary or any other QB rather quickly, with his reliable hands and the way he is able to excel in the short yardage passing game.
Coach Mason and his staff have made it clear in this class that while it is going to be small (16 scholarships) that he is still looking to fill out the holes of the team through player development, as Christian referred to late last month. This is the type of system that works at several other Power 5 programs, and who is to say after just one season that it can't work on the West End? Look for a quick recruiting update later this week, and as always, #AnchorDown