Coveted tight end among latest VU commitments

Sunday, July 22, 2007 at 9:11pm

Four more high-school football players have verbally committed to Vanderbilt this month, bringing the total to nine for the signing class of 2008.

Pledging to VU in recent weeks were defensive end Josh Jelesky of Naperville, Ill.; athlete Rob Lohr of Phoenixville, Pa.; offensive lineman Evan Ruiz of Baton Rouge, La.; and tight end Taylor Thompson of Prosper, Texas.

The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Thompson might become the most highly regarded of the group after also receiving scholarship offers from Duke, Louisville, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Purdue, South Carolina and Stanford.

Thompson caught 22 passes for 375 yards and one touchdown as a junior in 2006 while earning all-district honors. Scout.com ranks him as the nation’s 34th-best tight end prospect.

Other players who have committed to the Commodores are offensive lineman Michael Bryant of LaVergne; defensive end John Burrow of Morris, Ala.; offensive lineman Richard Cagle of Houston, Texas; defensive back Al Owens of Springtown, Texas; and linebacker Tristan Strong of Loganville, Ga.

SEC MEDIA DAYS: Head coach Bobby Johnson, junior wide receiver Earl Bennett and senior linebacker Jonathan Goff will represent Vanderbilt at SEC Media Days on Thursday in Hoover, Ala.

Here’s the complete Media Days schedule:

Wednesday: Arkansas (Coach Houston Nutt, running back Darren McFadden, linebacker Weston Dacus); South Carolina (Coach Steve Spurrier, running back Cory Boyd, linebacker Jasper Brinkley); Auburn (Coach Tommy Tuberville, quarterback Brandon Cox, defensive lineman Quentin Groves); Kentucky (Coach Rich Brooks, quarterback Andre Woodson, linebacker Wesley Woodyard.)

Thursday: Alabama (Coach Nick Saban, offensive lineman Antoine Caldwell, defensive back Simeon Castille); Vanderbilt; Florida (Coach Urban Meyer, receiver Andre Caldwell, defensive back Tony Joiner); Mississippi State (Coach Sylvester Croom, defensive lineman Titus Brown, quarterback Michael Henig).

Friday: Georgia (Coach Mark Richt, defensive back Kelin Johnson, offensive lineman Fernando Velasco); Ole Miss (Coach Ed Orgeron, running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, defensive lineman Marcus Tillman); LSU (Coach Les Miles, defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey, wide receiver Early Doucet); Tennessee (Coach Phil Fulmer, quarterback Erik Ainge, linebacker Jerod Mayo).

Beginning Wednesday, check the print and online editions of The City Paper for the latest news from SEC Media Days.

ALL ABOARD: Vanderbilt’s incoming freshman class is due to report to campus Aug. 4, although many in that group have been in town throughout the summer.

Returning upperclassman report Aug. 5, with practice slated to begin Aug. 6. Two-a-day practice sessions will start Aug. 13.

Dore Jam Fan Day is scheduled for Aug. 12.

TICKETS AVAILABLE: Vanderbilt single-game tickets for the 2007 season continue to be available at VUCommodores.com or by calling 322-GOLD.

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