When James Franklin took over the Vanderbilt program in 2011, he knew the job of turning the Commodores into a contender would not be a very easy one. In his first year, he instilled pride and toughness in a program that fought for four quarters in every game. Vanderbilt finished up the 2011 season with six wins and seven losses, but was a break or two away from winning 10 games. They had tough losses at home versus Georgia and Arkansas and on the road at Florida and Tennessee. These four games went down to the final minutes, but unfortunately just didn’t go their way.
Franklin has hit the recruiting trail like a madman. He currently has the 20th ranked class on the Rivals.com board and has been in on a couple of big name prospects the last two weeks. Jalen Ramsey, the 6″0″, 190 pound defensive back from Brentwood, TN., was down to Vanderbilt and USC, before choosing USC. Ramsey is a big time corner with 4.4 speed, a 40 inch vertical and a 3.6 GPA that would have fit in well at Vanderbilt.
Just this past week, the Commodores were in the running for another huge commitment. This time, Tampa, FL defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III had Vandy on his list of five finalists that included: Florida, Clemson, Miami and Notre Dame. Hargreaves is widely ranked as a top five corner and one of the top 10 overall players in the country.
Despite losing two top tier prospects, Franklin has put together a recruiting class that already includes three 4-star prospects. In June, the Dores picked up huge commitments from Macon, GA linebacker, Nigel Bowden, to go along with Alpharetta, GA wide receiver, Carlos Burse. Parlay those two with Ellenwood, GA, 4-star quarterback Johnathan McCrary, who committed in February and you have the makings of something special.
Franklin and his staff definitely have some momentum right now and if they can have some early season success, the momentum should roll right on through signing day.