SEC East Wildcard: Vanderbilt Passing Attack

By Joshua Cook
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Coach James Franklin has assembled what should be a highly prolific passing attack at Vanderbilt. Franklin, a former quarterback, knows what to put around a quarterback in order to make them better and feel more comfortable and confident. The arsenal he has assembled could easily translate into one of the best offenses in college football.

Senior quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, Franklin’s projected starter, is sure to be dreaming about the prolific numbers and historic season he can lead the Commodores to. Carta-Samuels, a former starter for and transfer from Wyoming, has enough weapons at his disposal to decimate secondaries.

Vanderbilt returns the top two receivers from 2012 in Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd. Matthews (6’3, 205) was a match up nightmare for defensive coordinators last year. The receiver grabbed 94 passes for more than 1,300 yards with 57 catches for 877 yards and five touchdowns coming against SEC opponents. Boyd (6’4, 205) improved throughout the season, solidifying himself as a solid weapon in the offense. He finished with 50 receptions for 774 yards and five scores. These two receivers are good enough to make any offense effective, but Franklin added a lot more to the offense in recruiting.

Vanderbilt has three ESPN300 receivers coming in along with the number one junior college tight end. This class, on paper, may not have as high of a ranking as the Texas A&M or Florida receiver class, but these prospects are poised to make immediate impacts.

Jordan Cunningham, a four-star prospect and 13th ranked receiver on ESPN recruiting, has the size (6’1, 175) to play outside and the speed to make a big impact in the slot. Brandon Vandenburg, the top junior college tight end, is also poised to have a huge impact early. The main weapon missing from Vanderbilt’s arsenal last season was a playmaker at the tight end spot. Vandenburg not only solves this problem, but creates his own problems for defenses. At 6’6, 260 pounds, Vandenburg has the speed to beat linebackers and the size to overpower safeties. This kind of mismatch in the middle opens up even more holes for the talented receivers.

Vanderbilt’s other receiver prospects should also play early. DeAndre Woods (6’3, 210) is also a four-star prospect and the 23rd receiver on ESPN recruiting. Like Cunningham, Woods has the ability to beat defenders over the top with speed or underneath with size. His game does not necessarily translate to the typical slot-receiver position, but Woods should see significant time early and give Carta-Samuels a solid weapon.

Carlos Burse (6’2, 193) is the other four-star receiver that Vanderbilt adds for the fall. He has good size and runs precise routes, but he does not possess the speed to be a deep threat. This should not keep him off the field, though, as every team needs a short-yardage possession receiver. He could be very troublesome for defenses on third downs and in the red zone.

Franklin has put together a very solid offensive lineup for 2013. Carta-Samuels has been given plenty of weapons, and he could easily put up gaudy numbers. Vanderbilt has assembled what could easily become the SEC’s best passing offense this season.

Joshua Cook is an SEC Football writer for Follow him on Twitter @JoCo217, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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