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VU’s Franklin Backtracks From “Men Of Honor” Comments

After signing day last week, Vanderbilt coach James Franklin told a group of Commodore backers that those players who decommitted from Vandy were “not men of honor” and “not men of integrity.”  He did not mention anyone by name, but most assumed that he was referring to defensive end Josh Dawson who decided on the eve of signing day to stay in his home state and attend Georgia rather than VU.

As a result of his words, Franklin took some heat.  Now, he’s backtracking a bit… and blaming the media (of course):


“First of all, it really wasn’t written the way it was delivered. I think the biggest thing is when a kid commits to Vanderbilt, I go into great detail and make sure they understand what they’re doing – that they understand ‘commitment’ and ‘what commitment means.’ That I’d say if five other schools come in and offer you, would you change your mind? We make sure everybody is on the same page: the kid, the parents, and the high school coach. We explain it in real detail. I would just rather a kid not commit to us than commit and not be completely sure what he’s going to do. When you lose a kid, it hurts your heart. You feel bad, like all college coaches do, because you feel like your institution is the best possible place for that kid. So when you lose them, it hurts.

I think I probably would’ve worded some things differently [that I said that day]. And I think it would’ve probably been reported a little differently than it was intended. But it is what it is. I have great respect for all the young men that committed to us. I have great respect for some of the men that changed their minds and went in another direction. They thought it was in the best interest for them and their family. But it hurts when you lose a guy when you’ve been recruiting him for a year.”


So Franklin wishes he’d said things differently.  And clearly he still thinks those players who decommitted from Vandy don’t understand “what commitment means.”

Then how exactly is any of this the fault of Jeff Lockridge of The Tennessean who initially tweeted the coach’s exact words?  Franklin tries to blame the press for not putting his words in context but he admits he chose the words poorly and that the context — turns out — looks pretty dead-on correct.

Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked several coaches about Franklin’s “not men of honor” comments and Vandy’s coach didn’t get a lot of support.  Especially from new North Carolina coach Larry Fedora who lost quarterback Patton Robinette to Franklin at the last possible moment (Robinette actually left orientation at UNC to sign with Vandy):


“What does [Franklin] say about the kids that were committed elsewhere and de-committed from their places to go to his place? That’s my comment. What is his comment on those people? He’s got someone in his recruiting class that did that very thing. He’s saying those guys are not men of honor? Basically, he’s saying he has got kids in his own recruiting class that are not men of honor. He said that, and I didn’t.”


We pointed out as much last week when writing of Franklin’s clear double-standard.  The AJC asked the coach if he saw his stance as being a double-standard:


“I think you get frustrated, and you get upset because kids commit to you.  But you’re exactly right. It was like the year before, when we got in here at the last minute and only had a month left for recruiting, we got kids to de-commit to us. I think that’s a very, very valid point.”


At least he admits that his comments post-signing day were out of line.  And in this instance he doesn’t try to blame the evil press for twisting his words.

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Georgia Signees – The Latest

Signed So Far:


John Atkins, DT

Collin Barber, P

Faton Bauta, QB

Mark Beard, OL

Josh Dawson, LB

Sheldon Dawson, Ath

James DeLoach, LB

Leonard Floyd, LB

Todd Gurley, RB

Quayvon Hicks, RB

Jordan Jenkins, LB

Keith Marshall, RB

Marshall Morgan, K

Greg Pyke, OL

Ty Flournoy-Smith, TE

Jonathan Taylor, DL

John Theus, OL

Blake Tibbs, WR

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Dawson Still Considering Georgia, Vanderbilt

Defensive end Josh Dawson from Tucker (Ga.) High School hasn’t made a final decision between Georgia and Vanderbilt.

I’m still 50/50 between two right now,” Dawson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’d probably say I’m still in the same place. I know I’m going to be doing a lot of thinking today and tomorrow. Hopefully, I will have my mind set on Tuesday and tell everybody on Wednesday.”

Dawson still considers himself a Vanderbilt “commit” but is very much undecided on his decision. Georgia is selling Dawson in the idea of staying in-state and playing different positions in defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s defense.

“He talked about how he could use me, putting me in different areas and positions on defense,” Dawson said.

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Athlete Moody Commits To Vanderbilt

Athlete Chris Moody from Henry County High School in McDonough, Ga., has committed to Vanderbilt.

Moody committed to the Commodores during an official visit this weekend.

“I did commit,” Moody told “I did it because I wanted to be a part of something special. Everybody there gives me the family feeling. Coach (James) Franklin and his staff are great. I feel as if the talent there can help us be great for the future. You also hope this helps Georgia take over Nashville.”

Vanderbilt is hoping to hold on to another important Georgia prospect, defensive end Josh Dawson from Tucker (Ga.) High School.

Dawson, who’s been committed to Vanderbilt since June, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution it’s “50-50″ whether he will sign with Vanderbilt or Georgia.

“I’m still committed to Vanderbilt but … it’s just a tight race between Vanderbilt and Georgia right now,” Dawson told the AJC. “I’d say they are both on top. I’m just going to have to weigh my options out. I’m going to make my final decision on where I’m going to sign on Feb. 1.”

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Vandy Commit Dawson Visits Georgia

Vanderbilt defensive end commit Josh Dawson from Tucker (Ga.) High School was at Georgia this weekend for an official visit.

Dawson would be more suited to play outside linebacker in Georgia’s 3-4 defensive scheme. That means Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham would coach Dawson if he were to choose the Bulldogs.

“I didn’t really to talk to (Grantham) that much until the last few weeks,” Dawson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Now we talk a lot. He’s a pretty cool guy. He’s very passionate with the way he coaches. It seems to bring out the best in his players. I don’t have any problems with it. I’m just waiting to see which way I go with (my recruiting).”

So is Vanderbilt in danger of losing Dawson, who’s considered the nation’s 20th-best weakside defensive end by

“I’m still committed to Vanderbilt,” Dawson told the AJC. “They’ve shown me a lot of love for a long time, and that’s why I committed there. Vanderbilt is ahead and … I don’t know … what else to say. I’m leaving everything out on the table for now. I will take my visit to Vanderbilt next weekend and see how things go.”

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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 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 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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