Posted by Bryan Fischer
For ages upon ages, Vanderbilt was looked at as a school that grabbed recruits that either other schools didn't want or because they simply wanted to get a good education. Under new head coach James Franklin, it appears the perception has changed and the school, at least for a few 2012 recruits, is a place to get a good education and play SEC football.
The Commodores made their biggest statement on the recruiting trail in years (probably decades) Friday afternoon as Nashville (Tenn.) defensive end Caleb Azubike, wide receiver Corey Batey and running back Brian Kimbrow all committed to the school in a big ceremony that was carried live on a state-wide radio station.
“The reason I made that decision is I like to be different,” Kimbrow, right, told 247Sports.com. “I like a challenge. I don’t want anything to be given to me. It’s close to home and it felt like home and it gave me an opportunity to be successful after football.”
The 5-foot-9, 160-pound running back is considered the top prospect in the state of Tennessee and ranked 38th in the MaxPreps Top 100. He spurned scholarship offers from schools such as Alabama, Arkansas, Notre Dame and USC to play for Vandy and while some see the decision to go to the school as a mistake, Kimbrow sees it as an opportunity.
“It’s very exciting, very exciting,” he said. “Most people might say I’m making a bad decision but I feel like it’s the best decision for me. Coach Franklin told me that fe feels like he can put me in a good situation and we can write our own destiny. That’s something that interests a lot of players around here.”
For Azubike, a 6-foot-4 pass rushing threat, the school that Coach Franklin was selling seemed to fall perfectly in-line with what he was looking for in his future program.
“I’ve been thinking about committing for a long time,” Azubike said. “I really liked Boston College and Mississippi State those are great schools. I decided Vandy was better. I still plan on taking visits to see what out there in the fall but right now Vandy is the best school for me.“
The trio puts Vanderbilt over the double-digit commitment mark for the class of 2012 with 11 total. All of the players in the class are from either Tennessee or Georgia so it's clear that Franklin and his staff are hitting two states for the majority of their talent.
Given the way Stanford has successfully pitched academics with competitive football over the past few years, perhaps it's time to think about Vanderbilt following in their footsteps.