Former Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin left at the wrong time. His departure in January to Penn State led to a number of de-commitments, and worries that Vanderbilt would not be able to fill their numbers.

Defensive co-ordinator Derek Mason, from Stanford (which is better than Vandy in terms of academics, but would still be twinned with them in terms of academics-before-athletics institutions), came to town.

And although he had a slow start, the speed that Vandy recruited in the last few days before National Signing Day would have made Nick Saban or Les Miles happy….and they picked up a monster DE recruit from under Stanford’s nose in Nifae Lealao.

He also added 4-star DB Emmanuel Smith, who had offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Tennessee, but stayed loyal to the Commodores despite the madness going on.

On the offensive side, he added RB Dallas Rivers – who had been offered by Tennessee and Louisville (amongst others) and QB Wade Freebeck.

Mason ended up with 22 LOIs – and none of them early enrolees. Saturday Down South remarked: “This is a great salvage job for a class that was down to 7 just days after James Franklin left for Penn State.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.


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