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VU Had 4 Commits From 4-Star Players; 3 Sign

One of the big question marks going into signing day was: “Can Vanderbilt hang on to its four 4-star commitments?”  As it turns out, yes, for the most part.

Defensive end Caleb Azubike, offensive lineman Andrew Jelks, and running back Brian Kimbrow — all from inside the state of Tennessee — did wind up inking with the Commodores.  But longtime Vandy defensive end commit Josh Dawson from Tucker, Georgia decided today to stay at home and join Todd Grantham’s Bulldogs defense.

Franklin surprised many with his early successes on the recruiting trail last summer and Dawson was one of the first commitments who helped turn heads.  Losing him has to be a disappointment.  But for Vandy, grabbing three 4-star players is still reason to celebrate.

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Vanderbilt Signees – The Latest

Signed So Far:

 

Corey Batey, WR

Tip McKenzie, WR

Andrew Jelks, OL

Caleb Azubike, DL

Paris Head, DB

Brian Kimbrow, RB

Tory Agee, DL

Darreon Herring, LB

Barrett Gouger, OL

Blake Fromang, OL

Patton Robinette, QB

Will Holden, OL

Brandon Banks, DB

Jake Sealand, LB

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James Franklin: ‘We’re Running Out Of Scholarships’

Vanderbilt is close to signing its most highly-rated recruiting class in school history.

The Commodores’ 2012 class of 20 commitments is ranked 21st nationally by Rivals.com. Vanderbilt has landed such highly-touted prospects as defensive end Josh Dawson, running back Brian Kimbrow and wide receiver Andre McDonald.

And there could be more top prospects on the way.

Commodores coach James Franklin told 104.5 The Zone in Nashville on Thursday that he expects Vanderbilt to close well on National Signing Day on Feb. 1.

“We’re in a position right now that we’re probably going to turn down some great players that in the last 10 years Vanderbilt would have begged for these kids to come,” Franklin said. “We’re just in a position where we’re running out of scholarships and that’s the position you want to be in every single year that at the end you’ve still got enough options out there that are very, very attractive. And that’s the position we’re in right now.”

Vanderbilt appears to be in a good position with athlete Albert Reid from Friendship Collegiate Academy in Washington, D.C. The former West Virginia commit told Rivals this week that Vanderbilt, Iowa and Maryland are his three finalists.

Vanderbilt is also actively recruiting such prospects as running backs Wes Brown and I’Tavius Mathers and athlete Will Redmond. Mathers (Ole Miss) and Redmond (Mississippi State) are committed elsewhere but have continued to show an interest in other schools.

Franklin and his staff have shown to be the difference in Vanderbilt’s recruitment. McDonald told MrSEC last month that Franklin is quickly changing the culture in Nashville.

I have never been around someone that I’ve known for such a short time and trusted so much,” McDonald said. “(Vanderbilt’s coaches) put themselves on the line for us. They’re all about success. That’s just how they’ve changed the attitude and it shows through the commits.”
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Gunner Kiel Highlights Impressive Visitor List For Vanderbilt

Gunner Kiel‘s appearance on Vanderbilt’s campus this weekend is another example of the impressive recruiting effort by head coach James Franklin.

The nation’s No.1 quarterback according to Rivals.com decided to take an official visit to Vanderbilt after visiting unofficially last month.

Kiel, who’s also considering LSU, Notre Dame and Arkansas, plans to enroll in college in January.

Franklin is trying to add to a 2012 class that’s already ranked No. 18 in the nation by Rivals. He’s secured commitments from such highly-touted prospects as defensive end Josh Dawson, running back Brian Kimbrow and wide receiver Andre McDonald.

McDonald, who’s ranked the No. 1 prospect in Minnesota by Rivals, told MrSEC he’s hopeful Kiel will decide to join him at Vanderbilt.

“That would be huge,” McDonald said. “That would be great to know for future reference that we’ve got such talent at that position. That would set us up for championships in the future.”

Prospects are more willing to believe Franklin’s sales pitch now that he’s taken Vanderbilt to a bowl game in his first year on campus. The Commodores will play Cincinnati in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31.

Kiel was in attendance for the school’s bowl announcement party.

Running back Wes Brown from Olney, Md., and West Virginia athlete commit Albert Reid from Washington, D.C., were two other highly-touted prospects on campus in Nashville this weekend.

“It went good,” Reid told VandySports.com of his trip. “They gave us a tour of the campus and we met with the coaches. I met with the running back coach and everyone.”

Everyone will be watching to see how Vanderbilt will wrap up its class for 2012. Franklin’s success on the field has made others take notice.

“It really kind of showed how Coach Franklin has drilled it into his players’ heads that they’re capable of being really successful,” McDonald said. “No matter what other people think.”

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Defensive Back Redmond Set To Decide

Defensive back Will Redmond from Memphis (Tenn.) East High School will announce his college decision on Monday.

Redmond will choose between Tennessee and Mississippi State and has an “has an idea” of where he will sign, according to Keith Niebuhr of Rivals.com.

Redmond is ranked the nation’s 30th-best athlete by Rivals. His teammate, running back Brian Kimbrow, announced his commitment to Vanderbilt on July 1.

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Thursday Afternoon Recruiting Notes

Here are some recruiting notes from around the Southeast and nation this afternoon.

-It’s the often-asked question: Are recruiting rankings fair?

-Running back Brian Kimbrow is set to announce his college decision. Vanderbilt is considered the favorite.

-Here’s a look from CBSSports.com on what to expect during the July recruiting period in college basketball.

-There will be plenty of talent on hand at The Nike Opening in Oregon next week.

-Bobby Petrino has done well finding quality depth in his recruiting classes at Arkansas.

-Auburn and Clemson had a strong recruiting month in June, writes Jamie Newberg.

-Here’s a look at Alabama’s first 2012 commit, safety Eddie Williams.

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Zeke Pike: No Place Better Than Auburn

Zeke Pike’s commitment to Auburn is strong.

The quarterback from Edgewood, Ky., made that clear during his visit to Auburn for the Tigers’ Big Cat Weekend. Pike was in town to help recruit many of the top uncommitted prospects to Auburn.

“I try to tell them I’ve been everywhere,” Pike said. “I tell them, ‘Everybody you have an offer from, I’ve had a chance to see. There is no place like this.’ It’s such a special place. I try to get them to understand that.”

One person who bought the pitch was offensive lineman Shane Callahan, who committed to Auburn during his visit. Others walked away impressed without giving their pledge to the Tigers.

“(Pike) was trying to get me to commit there with him,” Memphis athlete Brian Kimbrow said. “He just kept telling me this is the place for him.”

Auburn could be the place for wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson from Hutchinson Community College. That wasn’t the case before the weekend began.

“At first, Auburn wasn’t on my top list,” Patterson said. “When I came here they jumped on my top so quick. I didn’t expect it to be like that so fast.”

Auburn has six commitments for the class of 2012.

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