October 5, 2011

Following the future: seventh edition

Vanderbilt has put together one of the program's best-ever recruiting classes for the 2012 signing period. Led by first-year head coach James Franklin, the Commodore coaching staff has secured commitments from 17 prospects, including three prospects currently ranked in the Rivals250.

The class is currently ranked among the nation's Top 30 classes and figures to gain even more steam with the Commodores impressive 3-0 start to begin the 2011 season.

VandySports.com tracks the progress of every current Commodore commitment during his senior season with the Commitment Tracker.



School: Opelika High, Opelika (Ala.)
Position: Defensive Lineman

Last week's game: Opelika improved to 3-1 on the season with a huge 16-14 upset of Alabama powerhouse Prattville. The Bulldogs defense was strong throughout the night, limiting the Lions potent offense. Vanderbilt defensive line commitment Torey Agee led the attack with seven tackles including four tackles for loss, a sack and a pass breakup.

Season: Agee has enjoyed a storied year so far, racking up 27 tackles with eight tackles for loss and three sacks. He's also broken up a pair of passes. The all-state candidate has been rated by Rivals.com as a three-star prospect and a Top 40 prospect in the state of Alabama.

Next game: Opelika (3-1) will travel to Dothan this Friday.


School: McGavock High, Nashville (Tenn.)
Position: Defensive Lineman

Last week's game: The McGavock Raiders finally got off the schneid with a 13-10 win over Cane Ridge. Once again the Raiders offense wasn't always strong, but the defense limited the Ravens from moving the ball for most of the night. Future Vanderbilt defensive lineman Caleb Azubike led McGavock with eight total tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery.

Season: Azubike has registered 49 total tackles with eight sacks and 24 tackles for loss on the year. He's also accounted for 12 quarterback hurries, forced three fumbles and recovered a pair fumbles. He's scored a touchdown as well. The all-state candidate ranks 249th on the Rivals250. He's also rated as the nation's 18th-best weakside defensive end prospect.

Next game: McGavock (1-4) will travel to Hunters Lane this Friday.


School: Gwynn Park High, Brandywine (Md.)
Position: Defensive Back

Last week's game: Gwynn Park improved to 3-1 last Saturday with a 33-26 win over Crossland. The Yellow Jackets and Cavaliers traded momentum throughout most of the game, but Gwynn Park took a commanding lead in the third quarter and held on for the win. Vanderbilt defensive back commitment Brandon Banks had a big night, catching three passes for 54 yards including a 20-yard touchdown catch. He also registered a handful of tackles on defense and broke up a pass.

Season: Banks has registered 19 tackles with four pass breakups and an interception this season. He's also caught a number of passes including two for touchdowns. The three-star prospect has been invited to play in the Chesapeake Bowl, a annual post-season all-star game between Maryland and Washington D.C.'s top players.

Next game: Gwynn Park (3-1) will face Friendship Collegiate Academy on Saturday.


School: East Paulding High, Dallas (Ga.)
Position: Defensive Tackle

Last week's game: East Paulding destroyed yet another opponent last Thursday with a 63-0 shutout over North Paulding. It marked the third time this season the Raiders defense has blanked an opponent. Vanderbilt defensive tackle commitment LaDarius Banks had a dominating game on the inside, racking up five credited tackles with two tackles for loss and a sack and a half. Banks was virtually unblockable and created a lot of pressure and double team situations, filtering tackles to many of his teammates.

Season: For the year, Banks has registered 23 tackles with seven for loss, 4.5 sacks and two pass deflections. The three-star prospect is recognized as one of Georgia's Top 75 seniors and appears to be a strong candidate for all-state consideration. East Paulding's defense has only given up 15 points this season.

Next game: East Paulding (5-0) will host Sprayberry High on Friday.


School: Ensworth High, Nashville (Tenn.)
Position: Receiver

Last week's game: The Ensworth Tigers rebounded from its first loss in 14 games two weeks ago with a 33-7 win over Battle Ground Academy. The Tigers limited BGA's strong offensive attack to just 201 yards, while Ensworth rushed for 377 yards just on the ground. Despite the success on the ground, Vanderbilt receiver commitment Cory Batey had another big night, catching four passes for 85 yards including a 37-yard touchdown score.

Season: Batey has caught 20 passes for 432 yards and four touchdowns at receiver this season. He's also registered 13 tackles and broken up four passes at defensive back. Batey has returned two kicks for 125 yards and a score as well. The three-star prospect is recognized as one of Tennessee's top overall players in the 2012 class.

Next game: Ensworth (5-1) will host Pope John Paul II this Friday.


School: Goochland High, Goochland (Va.)
Position: Kicking Specialist

Last week's game: Goochland improved to 4-0 with a 46-13 win over Lunenburg Central on Monday. The Bulldogs were never really challenged on the night and continue to be one of the top teams in it's classification. Future Vanderbilt kicking specialist Colby Cooke converted on two field goals during the win including a long of 37 yards. He also posted four kickoffs for touchbacks and converted on four PATs.

Season: Cooke has converted on all 10 of his field goals attempts this year with a long of 48 yards. He's accounted for 43 points on the year and has averaged 63 yards on kickoffs with 11 touchbacks. Cooke earned Associated Press all-state honors in 2010 and VirginiaPrep.com all-state honors in 2009 and 2010. He's considered one of the top kickers on the East Coast.

Next game: Goochland (4-0) will travel to Bluestone on Friday.


School: Tucker High, Tucker (Ga.)
Position: Defensive End

Last week's game: The Tucker Tigers remained undefeated with a 60-8 shellacking of Douglass on Tuesday. The game was originally set for Saturday but was moved back. The Tigers offense was dominating on the ground, running all over the Astros. Tucker's defense was also strong once again, giving the Tigers a 48-6 lead by half time. Vanderbilt defensive end commitment Josh Dawson's night was a light one due to the Tigers dominating performance. His stats in the game are currently unavailable.

Season: Through four games, Dawson has posted 19 tackles, with seven tackles for loss and four sacks. He's also posted a touchdown reception on offense. The three-star prospect is recognized by Rivals.com as the nation's 33th best weak-side defensive end and 24th-best prospect in the state of Georgia.

Next game: Tucker (5-0) will have this weekend off. They will return to action on October 7th when they host Mays High.


School: Lake Highland Prep, Orlando (Fla.)
Position: Offensive Lineman

Last week's game: Lake Highland Prep's trip to Tampa last Friday proved to be an unsuccessful one as the Highlanders fell to Berkeley Prep 35-0. Lake Highland just didn't have the horses to contend with Berkeley's sensational five-star talent Nelson Agholor. Vanderbilt offensive line commitment Blake Fromang led the Highlanders attack but without the threat of many play-makers, Lake Highland was limited to just 21 yards on the ground and finished with 143 total yards.

Season: Froming's led a Highlander offense that has struggled at times against better competition. The unit opened strong to start the year but has only averaged about 200 yards on the season. Fromang is ranked by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 58 offensive tackle prospect. He also ranks 82nd among senior players inside the state of Florida this recruiting period.

Next game: Lake Highland Prep (1-3) will host Tampa Catholic this Friday.


School: Baylor School, Chattanooga (Tenn.)
Position: Offensive Lineman

Last Week's Game: Baylor improved to 6-0 with a 34-28 win over rival McCallie. The Red Raiders raced out to a 24-0 lead in the opening quarter and led 31-7 at the half. However, the Blue Tornadoes made a quick comeback, scoring 21 points in the span of 10 minutes before Baylor was able to hold on. Vanderbilt offensive line commitment Barrett Gouger led the potent Red Raider attack, as Baylor gained 367 yards including 220 yards on the ground.

Season: The Baylor offense has gained 2,285 yards of total offense on the year with 1,533 yards rushing. Baylor has also scored 226 points in the six wins. Barrett Gouger is considered one of Tennessee's top linemen and is ranked No. 74 in Rivals.com's offensive tackle prospect rankings.

Next game: The Baylor School (6-0) will travel to the mid-state once again to face Brentwood Academy this Friday.


School: Buford High, Buford (Ga.)
Position: Defensive Back

Last week's game: Buford remained undefeated with a 35-7 win over Lovett. The Wolves established things early on the ground and Buford limited Lovett to only 75 yards of offense. Vanderbilt defensive back commitment Paris Head was a part of the Wolves offensive and defensive attack but his official stats were not available at this time.

Season: Head has registered 18 tackles, four pass breakups and a forced fumble on defense through the Wolves first five games. He's also caught seven passes for 108 yards while playing receiver. Head is rated 53rd among corner prospects by Rivals.com and 54th among players in the state of Georgia. Buford has outscored it's opponents 259-21 on the season.

Next game: Buford (6-0) will host Decatur High this Friday.


School: Stephenson High, Stone Mountain (Ga.)
Position: Linebacker

Last week's game: Stephenson improved to 4-0 on the year with a 56-35 win over Westlake last weekend. The Jaguars ground game was nearly unstoppable and Stephenson's defense battled throughout against one of metro Atlanta's better programs. Vanderbilt linebacker commitment Darreon Herring had another strong night, registering several tackles as well as a sack.

Season: Herring has led the Jaguars talented defense with 40 tackles including 24 unassisted and seven tackles for loss so far this year. The versatile linebacker has also registered four sacks, posted four pass breakups and forced and recovered a fumble on the year. Herring is ranked 42nd among outside linebacker prospects and 35th among players in the state of Georgia.

Next game: Stephenson (4-0) will play Luella High on Friday at Halliford Stadium.


School: East High, Memphis (Tenn.)
Position: Running Back

Last week's game: East High suffered its first defeat of the season last weekend with a 41-0 loss at Memphis University School. The Mustang offense was kept in check all night as the Owls defense swarmed to the football and forced East into several three-and-outs. Vanderbilt running back commitment Brian Kimbrow had no running room during the contest and was limited to a season low 38 yards on 16 carries. There was no run in the game in which Kimbrow didn't encounter contact at the line of scrimmage.

Season: Kimbrow has rushed for 1,550 yards on 143 carries on the season with 16 total touchdowns. One of the most explosive players in the country, Kimbrow has posted over nine touchdowns of over 50 yards or more during the young season. Recognized as the top prospect in the state of Tennessee by Rivals.com, Kimbrow is also a Rivals100 prospect and is ranked as the nation's No. 3 all-purpose running back.

Next game: East (5-1) will have this weekend off. The Mustangs will return to the field next Friday to face Melrose High.


School: Hopkins High, Minnetonka (Minn.)
Position: Receiver

Last week's game: Hopkins High fell to 2-2 on the season with a 56-7 loss at Eden Prairie last Friday. The Royals defense had trouble stopping the Eagles from the start of the game. Despite the loss, Vanderbilt receiver commitment Andre McDonald still had a productive night with six receptions for 180 yards including a 68-yard touchdown catch.

Season: McDonald has caught 30 passes for 623 yards and seven touchdowns on the year. The four-star prospect is ranked 224th in the Rivals250 and is the No.1 player in the state of Minnesota.

Next game: Hopkins (2-2) will travel to Edina on Friday.


School: Trinity Episcopal Day, Natchez (Miss.)
Position: Athlete

Last Week's Game: Trinity Episcopal Day improved to 4-1 on the year with a 35-7 win at River Oaks. Once again, the Saints used some opportunistic offense and an active defense to put yet another in the win column. Vanderbilt commitment Jaborian "Tip" McKenzie's caused a fumble and recovered it for a scoop and score of 34 yards. He also caught a pass for a 18-yard touchdown.

Season: McKenzie has rushed for 349 yards on 34 carries including five touchdowns with a long of 72 yards. "Tip" has caught 16 passes for 401 yards and five touchdowns and returned nine kicks for nearly 362 yards and a score. The dynamic player has also racked up 30 tackles and four interceptions on defense this season as well as a couple fumbles. Overall, McKenzie has accounted for 18 touchdowns so far this year. He's been recognized by Rivals.com as one of Mississippi's top play-makers.

Next game: Trinity Episcopal Day (5-1) will host Central Private this Friday.


School: Tucker High, Tucker (Ga.)
Position: Linebacker

Last week's game: The Tucker Tigers remained undefeated with a 60-8 shellacking of Douglass on Tuesday. The game was originally set for Saturday but was moved back. The Tigers offense was dominating on the ground, running all over the Astros. Tucker's defense was also strong once again, giving the Tigers a 48-6 lead by half time. Vanderbilt linebacker commitment Jacob Sealand had a strong game, posting eight tackles with a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Season: Sealand has registered 33 total tackles on the year with four tackles for loss, two sacks, two quarterback hurries, a pass breakup, three forced fumbles and a pair of fumble recoveries. Rated as the nation's 22nd-best inside linebacker, Sealand also ranks 39th among all Georgia prospects.

Next Game: Tucker (5-0) will have this weekend off. They will return to action on October 7th when they host Mays High.


School: Shiloh High, Snellville (Ga.)
Position: Linebacker

Last Week's Game: Shiloh dropped to 1-4 on the year with a 25-0 loss to Dacula High last Friday. The Generals struggled throughout the night while Dacula racked up nearly 400 yards of offense. Vanderbilt linebacker commitment Stephen Weatherly made seven tackles in the loss including two for lost yardage.

Season: Weatherly has registered 39 total tackles through the first five games, with 21 solo stops and five sacks and seven tackles for loss. He's also caught three touchdowns on offense. Weatherly transferred from North Atlanta to Shiloh prior to this school year. The three-star prospect is ranked No. 57 in the Georgia prospect rankings.

Next game: Shiloh (1-4) will host Grayson this Friday.

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