Twenty-one prep football players signed with Vanderbilt on Wednesday, national signing day for high-school seniors.
Fourteen are slated for duty on defense, including seven linemen.
“We did lose a lot of defensive linemen this year and some outstanding linebackers, so we felt like we had to be diligent in replacing those guys,” VU coach Bobby Johnson said.
Among the top-rated defenders in VU’s crop are linebackers Tristan Strong of Loganville, Ga., and DeAndre Jones of Memphis and defensive back Casey Hayward of Elko, Ga. Wide receiver John Cole of Somerset, Ky., is also a player to watch.
As is normally the case, Vanderbilt’s recruiting class was ranked as the worst in the Southeastern Conference on Wednesday by Scout.com and Rivals.com.
And as is normally the case, Johnson brushed aside such rankings.
“We feel like we did a good job of bringing in players who are useful to our program,” he said. “We don't look at them any other way than how they will help our program and how they will do academically here at Vanderbilt.
“I don’t compare it to other people’s classes. I don’t care who they sign. We care about who we sign.”
Antonio Wilson, a 6-foot-5 defensive end from Columbia High in Decatur, Ga., signed with Georgia Tech today after having verbally committed to Vanderbilt.
Wilson, a basketball standout, played only four prep football games but was an intriguing football prospect due to his size and speed.