January 10th, 2012 06:40 PM║ Posted By: Josh Ward ║ Permalink
Tags: Chris Beatty, Ira Mathers, Ole Miss, South Carolina
Running back I’Tavius Mathers from Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, Tenn., is sticking with his commitment to Ole Miss.
“I’m 100 percent sure this time,” Mathers told The Tennessean.
Mathers wasn’t 100 percent sure when Ole Miss fired head coach Houston Nutt and replaced him with Hugh Freeze. That’s why Mathers decided to look at other schools, including South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
The Commodores looked like the favorite to pull Mathers away from Ole Miss. But that changed after he heard the recruiting pitch from Vanderbilt’s staff.
“I just felt like they weren’t being completely honest with me,” he told The Tennessean.
Vanderbilt was selling Mathers on early playing time. But he wasn’t sure that would be available with running backs Zac Stacy and Warren Norman returning to school.
Mathers’ father, Ira Mathers, said that led his son to decline Vanderbilt’s offer.
“He wanted to go to Vanderbilt,” he said. “But they were playing around with him on his playing time. They were not being honest with me in what they wanted to do.”
I’Tavius Mathers’ accusation is the latest hit to Vanderbilt’s recruiting efforts. The Commodores lost a commitment from wide receiver Andre McDonald last week after receivers coach Chris Beatty left for Illinois.
Vanderbilt was thought to be a leader for defensive back Jordan Diggs until he committed to South Carolina at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl last weekend.
Still, Vanderbilt’s class of 2012, which holds 20 commitments, is ranked No. 25 in the nation by Rivals.com. And Vanderbilt coach James Franklin expressed confidence in his class during an interview on Nashville radio on Dec. 29.
“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.”
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