Mason Johnston, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound tight end from The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla., verbally committed to Vanderbilt last week.
He is ranked by Scout.com as the nation’s No. 36 tight end prospect and No. 43 by Rivals.com in the class of 2009.
Johnston selected VU after also receiving several other scholarship offers. Arkansas, Maryland, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan State, North Carolina State were among the interested schools.
“I just fell in love with the school, fell in love with the coaches and just decided that Vanderbilt was perfect for me,” he told VandySports.com.
Johnston caught only 12 passes last season at Bolles, which went undefeated during the regular season but lost in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs to finish 11-1.
“I can do everything, I think,” Johnston said. “I block pretty well, I have good hands and I run decent routes. I have fairly good speed. I’m quicker than most people think. I do think my route running could get a little bit better. My strengths, though, would be my hands, blocking and my overall strength, too.”
Johnston is Vanderbilt’s sixth known commitment for the class of 2009, joining safety Jay Fullam of Chattanooga, defensive tackle Darrius McMullin of Spain Park, Ala., offensive lineman Justin Cabbagestalk of Seffner, Fla., linebacker Blake Southerland of Norcross, Ga., and athlete Eric Samuels of Umatilla, Fla.
Johnston played at Bolles with current Vanderbilt running back Ryan van Rensburg, who redshirted at VU last season.
Johnston says that van Rensburg gave him some insight into the Commodore program.
“My sister was in the same grade, and she was actually really good friends with Ryan, so I know him very well,” Johnston said. “I have watched Vanderbilt on television since I was young and always heard great stuff about their program. When I was up there, I talked to Ryan about it, had a serious chat with him and he couldn’t say one bad thing about the school and program.”