Vanderbilt ‘plunges’ into Georgia for college football prospects

Vandy is on a hot streak in Georgia.

The SEC East school landed three commitments from Georgia in one day — North Atlanta LB Stephen Weatherly, Stephenson LB Darreon Herring, and East Paulding DE LaDarius Banks on Thursday.  Vanderbilt has six 2012 commitments, crossing over the Tennessee state line into Georgia for 5 of 6, including North Cobb DE Tre Griffin and Tucker LB Jacob Sealand.

Stephen Weatherly

Stephen Weatherly

Sealand recalls a recent conversation with Vanderbilt coach James Franklin:

“Coach Franklin said we need to get this thing going, we need a ‘plunger’ and I didn’t know what he meant by ‘plunger’ … then I realized a little later,” Sealand said. “He said he needed one big-name player in the Atlanta area to commit and people would follow. I didn’t know I’d be that guy. But as soon as I committed last week, I guess other people saw it because we got more commitments from our area. I’ve been calling and talking with Darreon and other recruits. Hopefully, we can get some more committed very soon.”

The best catch of Thursday’s haul might have been Weatherly, a 6-foot-5, 200-pounder who is projected to play outside linebacker. He picked Vanderbilt over Georgia Tech, while also considering Illinois and N.C. State. He also had numerous other SEC and ACC schools that wanted to evaluate him this fall.

Weatherly’s commitment was connected with Herring’s decision: “We saw that another kid committed to Vanderbilt earlier in the day on Thursday. I thought ‘Well, this must be a sign.’ I really liked Vanderbilt and the timing felt right after hearing about that. So my head coach and I called up there around noon to let them know I was coming.”

“Coach Franklin was really excited. He said ‘I knew a day like this was coming eventually.’ He congratulated me on my decision.”

“Vanderbilt was my top choice, and I didn’t want to risk losing the scholarship offer, so I went ahead and committed. They play in the nation’s best conference with the SEC, and also offer a world-class education.”

Georgia is on the mind of Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, who has 5 of 6 commitments from Georgia (AP photo)

Georgia is on the mind of Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, who has 5 of 6 commitments from Georgia (AP photo)

Vanderbilt’s recruiting strategy under Franklin resembles 2010, when the Commodores aggressively recruited Georgia — they identified targets early in the process, offered them before peer schools, and were ready and willing to accept early commitments. It gave Vanderbilt a headstart on players who would be later recruited by SEC rivals. The Commodores lost a few, including Peachtree Ridge defensive back Bradley Robey (flipped to Ohio State), but finished with eight signees from Georgia.

What if bigger schools come calling? Will these 2012 commits stick with Vanderbilt?

  • Sealand: “Miami offered me on Monday, one day after I committed to Vanderbilt. They asked me ‘Do we have a chance?’ I told the coach ‘Thanks so much for the offer, and I am very honored. But once I say I’m committed, it’s over.’ I’m finished with recruiting and going to Vanderbilt.”
  • Herring: “Vandy is on roll. Why would you pass on Vanderbilt? It’s SEC football, and not everybody can make it the NFL. You can get an education like Harvard or Yale. My recruiting over. The only visit I will make in the future is to Vanderbilt.”
  • Weatherly: “My commitment is solid. I’m sticking with it, and not taking any other visits.”

RELATED: Grayson DB Denzel Nkemdiche hopes to visit UGA after returning from Ole Miss trip (go here)

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog


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48 comments Add your comment

Vanderbilt grad '94

May 20th, 2011
2:44 am

Vanderbilt football … RUNS THIS STATE!!!!

I’m a Vanderbilt graduate working in Atlanta. I make about 15% more than all my co-workers from Georgia Tech who still live in their parents basement and 50% more than the ones from the University of Georgia who bring me coffee every day.

Go Vandy!

Dawg Nights

May 20th, 2011
3:21 am

i am very happy for all the young men. but let’s keep it real … if we decide we want any of them in january, cmr will dangle an offer in front of them and they won’t be able to flip quick enough. you know it’s true ….. really like sealand, cmr needs to offer this beast


May 20th, 2011
3:41 am

I’m glad to see Vandy get some good athletes. They’re all probably on UGA’s B list, but they are good gets for Vandy. UGA might offer a couple of them if their A list doesn’t pan out. Meanwhile, if Vandy continues to get great coaching (unknown at this point) they will be more competitive with these athletes.


May 20th, 2011
5:02 am

College football and basketball recruiting commitments are meaningless these days. The kids and their parents get so much media hype so far out that they are encouraged to keep everyone guessing by visiting and switching their commitments so often.


May 20th, 2011
6:22 am

Vanderbilt Grad’s office must not be run by a Vanderbilt grad if they broadcast everyone’s salaries.

Oh well, at least he didn’t start the thread with “Fiirst”.


May 20th, 2011
6:26 am

You have to like the quality of these quotes from these players. My Dawgs should do so well in that dept. Looks like Coach Franklin has got a fire started up there in Nashville.


May 20th, 2011
6:39 am

Weatherly chose vandy over tech but im sure tech fans will say he wasnt offered, just like the kid from stephenson wasnt offered. People complain about the top talent not going to uga this year, tech cant even lock down the 2nd tier guys in this state any year.

Bama Fan#2

May 20th, 2011
6:55 am

I heard Vandy’s football coach on the radio and he can sell his program with the
best. RTR


May 20th, 2011
7:13 am

congrats to Weatherly. He simply picked Vandy over GT because Vandy wants him for defense and GT wanted him only as a WR. He prefers defense. Good decision for him…playing the position he wants and going to a good academic school.
Vandy is the best football scholarship offer you can get in the SEC.
This Jacket wishes Stephen the best of luck!!


May 20th, 2011
7:25 am

hiveredtech……..I would agree but take it a step further. The best football/academics scholly East of the Mississippi, since the Ivy League does not offer football scholly’s.


May 20th, 2011
7:37 am


Notice I said best in the SEC…I did not include the Ivy, ACC, or Pac10 schools that would be comparable or better.

Of course we all know that Harvard offers academic scholly’s to good football players to get it done. About 5 of GT’s signee’s this past February had offers from Harvard.

Heck…if my son had offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, FSU, and Harvard to play football…I would tell him to take Harvard every day of the week. You can make it to the NFL if you are one of the lucky 4% in Div. 1 college football…and then play 3.2 years at the league minimum….even if played football at Harvard and you get one of the best educations in the world to boot!

Earth to Vaderbilt grad '94

May 20th, 2011
7:47 am

If you drank coffe brought to you by a UGA grad, YOU DRANK SPIT!


Earth to Vaderbilt grad '94

May 20th, 2011
7:48 am


May 20th, 2011
8:03 am

Hey Vandy Grad, you knock out a couple 2-3 star recruits, your football team still and always will suck and now you start talking trash? You sure you didn’t go to Tech?


May 20th, 2011
8:22 am

wow and to hear all you Jacket insiders tell it, GT was suppose to have the inside recruiting edge, thought we had the coordinator that has the relationship with Ga recruits out of h.s. to land them, you GT fans don’t know squat..wish CPJ would hire Giff back from Buffalo


May 20th, 2011
8:24 am


Pay attention…if I could type slower so you would understand I would. Maybe step by step will help.

1- GT offered him as a WR
2- Vandy offered him as a DE/OLB
3- He wants to only play defense
4- Therefore he committed to Vandy

Does that help?


May 20th, 2011
8:34 am

The bigger question is why would Tech offer a kid as a WR when they don’t throw the football, especially a kid that evidently has size and talent and wants to play D. Seems to me, you offer a kid and say you want to play D, we will give you a shot. Then if he ends up being a better WR-blocker, you move him to offense.

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 20th, 2011
8:42 am


I was interested in how the IVY league operated in sports scholarships as well, so I went to the IVY league website, and by agreement, no Ivy league school gives out an athletic scholarship. They give out grants in Aid, and in some cases, low rate of interest loans, but no actual scholarships.

The Rock

May 20th, 2011
9:02 am

The Rock says Vandy come down here and get all the wannabes and never will be’s you want because in the end the Dawgs are gonna stick it up your candy *#@#@!


May 20th, 2011
9:19 am

Vandy has all the tools it needs to be a force in the conference. Scoff all you want, but it’s a fine school with a fine program. Just remember at one time, not that long ago either, Florida was an annual floormat of the conference too.


May 20th, 2011
9:32 am

Soon Vanderbilt will be the dawgs new daddy.

What do I know?

May 20th, 2011
9:35 am

Vanderbilt will win the SEC this season. Bank on it. Vanderbilt vs. Ole Miss for the SEC title.

Rocket City Jacket

May 20th, 2011
9:53 am

Congrats to Weatherly. Most of his offers were from fine academic schools (Purdue, GT, BC, Illinois, Vandy, etc.) and he picked a good one. We wish him the best of luck.

We could have used him as WR.

Vampire Bill

May 20th, 2011
10:38 am

Great post Tenn dog

K from Da Wood

May 20th, 2011
11:16 am

Excellent decision by all of these young men. Congrats to all! I must say that I am very impressed by the statements these young men made about being committed and their reasons for wanting to attend Vandy. When you make decisions for the right reasons good things usually happen. GOOD LUCK FELLAS!!!!


May 20th, 2011
11:30 am

ItAin’t RocketScience
Demontavious Smith signed with GT last Feb. and also had an academic “grant in aid” offer from Harvard for his 3.5 GPA. Another GT signeed, Anthony Harrell, had a Harvard offer…but he has a 4.37 GPA. Dalvin Tomlinson from McDonough this year has the same offer from Harvard with his 3.8 GPA. We all know how hard it is to get a Harvard offer…these kids definitely attracted their attention through football. Heck…there is a kid I know from my community at Harvard now playing football on an “academic grant in aid”…but we all know it was because of football. They are all great students…it is not like Harvard is slumming…but they definitely target athletes with these “grants in aid”.

Demaryius Thomas would like to talk to you about why a WR would want to play in Paul Johnson’s offense. He hauled in 1,200 yds in receiving his senior year and because a 1st round NFL draft choice. The funny thing is that, like Weatherly, the position he wanted to play led to his college choice. He wanted to go to UGA but Mark Richt said he was too slow and wanted him only as a TE…however Chan Gailey saw him as a WR. Because BayBay wanted to be a WR…he came to GT.

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 20th, 2011
11:44 am


For sure, it is the same almost as a scholarship. The only difference it amounts to is the Ivy leagues can say they do not offer athletic scholarships, by changing the name. Otherwise, they could not even earn bragging rights between themselves. I would think that profits from football games also pay for those grants in aid many times over. Smart move if you can get it to work though, LOL.

UGA UBA Hypocrite

May 20th, 2011
11:57 am

WTF? Vandy is now pillaging GA for prospects as well? I guess that these parents are finally taking notice of Mark Richts oversigning ways. Richt is Satan, signing recruits and then booting them to make room for new kids.


May 20th, 2011
12:10 pm

Vandy and all the SEC schools have ALWAYS gotten kids from Georgia.

Geez, some of you people are just crazy dumb.


May 20th, 2011
12:28 pm

If Wheatherly doesn’t get tougher then he’ll only be a student at Vandy. Not the toughest ballplayer against high school caliber ball players. Gets alot of “garbage sacks” against lesser competition. Disappears against the better competition on N. Atlanta’s very weak schedule. My barometer is when they played the better competition St. Pius, Washington, Grady, in the past Carver…against teams like that he was invisible. Now he racked up against S. Atlanta, Riverwood, Arabia Mountain, Towers,…Against good competition HE FOLDED LIKE A QUILT. Tech didn’t lose out on much


May 20th, 2011
12:30 pm

Hivered, Funny how d. Thomas’s success hasn’t led to better recruiting, think it might be the coach’s and the system?

Delbert D.

May 20th, 2011
1:56 pm

It might be the system. The triple option offenses don’t require 4 and 5 star road graders nor WRs with 4.4 speed. It’s all about overloading with numbers along with precision and deception.


May 20th, 2011
5:46 pm

Enter your comments here

THE Dixie Redcoat Band

May 20th, 2011
5:47 pm

Actually, Vandy should be in the ACC.


May 21st, 2011
9:53 am

Hey, TN dog and the rest of the uninformed, spouting junk and have no idea what your talking about bloggers: read the ESPN article on VU recruiting. 3 of VU’s GA recruits are on the ESPN 150 Watch List. Oh, I forgot dog you can’t read. Have your cousin, I mean wife read you the article, that is if she can see past the beer and copenhagen stains.Oh, speaking of TN, you’re on a roll between baseball, mens basketball and now add football.

bitter uga fan

May 21st, 2011
8:50 pm

delbert d. always i valid take——maybe you will agree ——chip is and always will-be #1 recruit report

————————————————–hahahahahahaha—-new guy!!!!!8:51 and 10 comments–puuuu

————————–hahahahahahahahah–new guy————loosser

Math Debater

May 21st, 2011
9:51 pm

Vandy can have the kid from North Cobb. He would never see the field at any other SEC team.


May 22nd, 2011
6:23 pm

BAMA fan here…………………………..UGA……………………………..So what you lost recruits to VANDY. They were not going to be offered by you anyway.

And as you see……………………………….Nick Saban was not considering them either. They had better get their education for it is a fine school.

Vandy should be in the IVY LEAGUE anyway.


May 22nd, 2011
8:01 pm

If this continues it will kill GT. We know we have limited appeal with a paper thin curriculum – an offense that none of the blue chippers want to play in – and now we have an equally highly rated – perhaps even stronger- academic school signing players that can qualify at GT. I hope CPJ has an answer and it better be quick. I feel sick!


May 23rd, 2011
8:06 am

May 22nd, 2011
8:01 pm
CPJ is lazy when it comes to Recrootin’ Stinger, he’d rather sit back and milk McCollum’s connections out of friggin’ North Carolina that has lesser HS FB than does Ga., or he’d rather try and milk any connections that CAG might have had in Md./Va.

When he was hired Coach Kung Fu Panda claimed he wanted to focus on Ga., yet here we are 3.5 yrs. into his “Recruiting Strategy” and he’s taking transfers from RUTGERS, giving schollies to Long Snappers from friggin’ NEW JERSEY, unknown LBs from Illinois that were headed to W. Illinois, and multiple Recruits from N. Carolina.

CPJ was supposed to build the interest in GT FB by RECRUITING GA. HS TALENT, yet he has already seemed to have abandoned that short-lived strategy.

CPJ was never cut out to Recruit in a BCS Conference, he doesn’t have the proper mental disposition(patience) to deal with the “more elite” Recruits that have MULTIPLE BCS OPTIONS, a far cry from your typical Recruit that goes to a Service Academy or D1-AA School(Ga. Sou.).

CPJ’s first 2 GT Teams had roughly 4-5 NFL-type guys on EACH side of the Ball, his Teams for 2011 & 2012 will be lucky to have ONE NFL-type guy on BOTH sides of the ball COMBINED, in a BCS Conf. that is a HUGE TALENT DROP-OFF.

football fan

May 23rd, 2011
11:25 am

Trust that Tech offered Weatherly as a WR/Ath. Vanderbilt offered a defensive position accompanied by a world-class education. Vandy was an easy choice and it was just that simple. @ thebull35, allow me to use a play from hiveredTech’s playbook on explanations to the average moron.

1. Against “ powerhouse” St. Pius – Weatherly had 8 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT [against the 2012 South Carolina commit] and caused 1 fumble.

2. Against “powerhouse” Washington – Weatherly had 12 tackles, 1 sack, 2 rec for 60 yds and 1 TD.

3. Against “powerhouse” Grady – Weatherly ran across the field on the opening kick-off to make the TD-saving tackle. On the 1st down, he made the solo tackle. On 2nd, he made the tackle. On 3rd down, he was dropped back in coverage as a Safety and made the sideline tackle before a 1st down was obtained. What less-than-an idiot coach wouldn’t double team this kid for the remainder of the game? And as the DE, he still contained his side of the field.

4. Weatherly last played Carver in 2009 at the Ga Dome and he played his @$$ off. Check the reel.

None of this is my opinion. It’s all on film. So don’t trash a young man without having your facts in line. You sound like a P.O.’d Tech fan, player or Coach. Either that or a disgruntled North Atlanta parent or player that wanted field time. Grow up! And btw, you’re right; Tech didn’t lose much (that’s sarcasm).


May 23rd, 2011
1:08 pm

Vanderbilt will never win as long as they are in the SEC……period. Look at their history in College Football. They just will not be deep enough at key positions to compete with the other powers in the SEC. To go for academics is fine, but for these coaches to act like they have a chance to win 7-8 games consistently is wrong.


May 24th, 2011
2:23 pm

Guess you can’t have too many linebackers!

[...] isn’t the only one high on Vanderbilt. The Commodores already have six commitments for 2012 and they’ve gone into the state of Georgia to grab five of them. Coach James Franklin is [...]

OneOnOneWith TheGreatOne

May 24th, 2011
8:31 pm

Vandy will be very competitve in the SEC this year. I look for Vandy to have a big upset this year. Overall Vandy recieves an “A” grade for their recruiting this year in Georgia. UGA well…. Thats something on a different level.


May 25th, 2011
3:50 am

Anytime anyone says anything about Vanderbilt, no matter what the topic, the Vanderbilt fan will immediately bring up their rate of pay and how it is better than everyone else in the entire world. I’m a UT student and have much respect for Vandy, but all the money in the world won’t teach you to be humble.

Tennessee Grad '73

May 25th, 2011
11:53 am

To Vanderbilt Gard ‘94,

Seems like nothing has changed since I graduated. Vandy grads are still jerks, and Tennessee still beats them regularly. I turned down scholarships from Vandy and several other schools for one at Tennessee. After I made my 1st million, I retired from the corporate rat race at age 46 because I learned I could do even better through investments. You don’t have to have a Vanderbilt degree to be successful. Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama are all good schools.

[...] DE Stephen Weatherly, North Atlanta [...]