With Day One of SEC Media Days 2014 in the books, it's clear who "won" this round of preseason talks -- admittedly an honor that will have nothing to do with winning actual football games this fall. Just read Derek Mason's response to a question about recruiting kids to Vanderbilt and pretend that you're not impressed:
"I think Vanderbilt is probably as strong recruiting now as it's every been. I think the reason why is young men are willing now, along with their parents, to look at the idea of having it all. Why shortchange yourself? The idea of getting a world-class education and playing in the best conference in the country and winning? I tell you what, you'd be hard-pressed to find a parent who wouldn't buy that.
So, really I don't think it's what we're selling, it's what we're offering. I think a lot of coaches sell. I don't have to sell. I just present what we have to offer. From there, when you look at the academics, what the football is in the SEC, how competitive we are, it gives us an opportunity to have a level playing field. Our playing field is level now. So what we have to do is just continue to be who we are, do the things we need to do in order to be successful. Understand that football is what they do, not necessarily who they are. Work on educating the whole man, not part of him."
I believe it was Darth Vader who once said:
And impressive is exactly what Mason was on this July day.
That may not mean a thing come November or 2015 or 2016 or any year beyond, but for today, it sure as Hell looks like Vandy AD David Williams -- the most underrated AD in the conference, by the way -- has made yet another good hire.