Lane Kiffin flashbacks? Vanderbilt coach arrives at high school games in a … helicopter

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin tweeted a photo of his transportation on Friday

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin tweeted a photo of his transportation on Friday

How cool is arriving at a high school football game in a helicopter?

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Vanderbilt coach James Franklin is recruiting Atlanta in a way that would make Lane Kiffin proud.

Yes, we’re talking about Vanderbilt.

The Commodores are the talk of the town after Franklin arrived at a pair of high school football games on Friday in a helicopter.

Franklin’s first stop was Central Gwinnett’s game at Dacula.

“We’re out there at warm-ups, and this helicopter started flying in real low and over the game field,” Central Gwinnett coach Todd Wofford told the AJC. “My student trainers were going crazy because they didn’t know what was going on. They thought the helicopter was going to land on the game field.”

Franklin stayed for the first quarter to eyeball a few prospects and then jumped back on the helicopter.

The next stop was the Walton-Lassiter game.

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin (AP photo)

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin (AP photo)

“It was crazy, this just helicopter comes out of nowhere in the dark sky,” Walton offensive lineman Brandon Kublanow said. “Everybody at the game is watching the helicopter and not the game. It was supposed to land on the baseball field but it couldn’t because of the power lines. It circled a few times, found the practice field for football, and landed on it. Pretty crazy, but pretty cool.”

The last time a college recruited Atlanta with such boldness and bravado was when then-Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin took a helicopter ride in 2009 between a pair of games involving Stephenson vs. M.L. King and North Gwinnett High School.

“That’s the first thing I thought of when I saw the helicopter, Lane Kiffin doing the same thing for the ESPN cameras at that Stephenson-MLK game,” Wofford said.

Seven of Vanderbilt’s 17 commitments for its 2012 college football recruiting class are from the state of Georgia.

What do I think? Props to Vanderbilt. This is recruiting at its finest. Seriously, how many of you would recognize Vanderbilt coach James Franklin if he walked in front of you? Not me, either. But Franklin had everybody at these games – most importantly, the prospects – knowing that Vanderbilt was there due to his grand arrival.


  • Vanderbilt (yes, Vanderbilt) is recruiting Atlanta in a way that would make Lane Kiffin proud. Vanderbilt’s coach cruised to a pair of high school games on Friday in a helicopter (click on story link)
  • Will OL Brandon Kublanow commit to UGA after getting his “dream offer” this weekend? (click on story link)
  • Steve Spurrier gets commitment from Columbia HS defensive end Jhaustin Thomas (click on story link)
  • Twin sons of ex-NBA point guard Mookie Blaylock are headed to Kentucky — but to play football (click on story link)

WE’VE MOVED!!! Visit the AJC’s NEW Recruiting page by clicking here


– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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49 comments Add your comment


October 2nd, 2011
9:32 pm

It was lame when Kiffin did it. Lamer x10 when the Vandy coach does it. Maybe if he were piloting it himself, but even then…


October 2nd, 2011
9:33 pm

Better watch out or CPJ will punch you in the nose.


October 2nd, 2011
9:35 pm

I’m glad Lane Kiffin is gone but he built a fence around Atlanta in recruiting while he was here.

Big Enos Burdette

October 2nd, 2011
9:37 pm

It’s Vandy…so it doesn’t matter


October 2nd, 2011
9:43 pm

I was at the game it was pretty sweet. Everyone was watching the helicopter in awe.


October 2nd, 2011
9:55 pm

@ATl Vol..don’t agree about that fence but if thats true, how did his tactics work our for Tenn…In my opinion it brought shame to a fine school and football program…You have a quality Coach there now and I don’t believe he will stoop to some of the stuff that the last staff did….

Jerry from Bulls Gap

October 2nd, 2011
10:11 pm

Vols had a fence around Atlanta? News to me.


October 2nd, 2011
10:11 pm

As long as it isn’t breaking the rules, you have to leave a mark somehow. Go Vandy but more importantly Hunker Down you Harry Dogs.

Wally My Butts

October 2nd, 2011
11:10 pm

Vandy – who cares?

What’s next? Taking them for a ride?


October 2nd, 2011
11:46 pm

Vanderbilt is a sleeping giant. Only a certain percentage of high school athletes delude themselves into believing that they have a realistic shot at making enough money in the NFL to support themselves and their families the rest of their lives. So, for that non-delusional percentage out there – which is much larger than most people believe – Vanderbilt should be able to sell the benefits and value of a superior education. Also, doing that should allow them to recruit nationally, or at least in a wider region.

It is basically the same model that Stanford and Northwestern follow. Of course, those schools don’t exactly contend for national titles regularly (even if Stanford did go 12-1 last year and win the Orange Bowl, and Northwestern did go to the Rose Bowl in the 1990s) but they win more than Vanderbilt do. Or should I say … they win more than Kentucky, Ole Miss and Mississippi State do, and they win more than South Carolina did before Spurrier got there.

The only reason why Vanderbilt and Duke don’t do as well as Stanford and Northwestern in football is because Vandy and Duke haven’t hired the caliber of coaches that Stanford and Northwestern have. But a good football coach who believes in the school can win at Vandy. That this coach is pulling stunts like this to attract attention to himself instead of finding kids with good college skills who want to be architects and project managers instead of MAYBE (or truthfully not really) NFL training camp/practice squad fodder before being out on the street never to play organized football again at the age of 24 and having to face earning a living for the rest of your life like Stanford and Northwestern have been doing isn’t the best sign. Vandy’s administration needs to tell this guy to quit it, and get back to scouring Rivals and Scout for quality offensive linemen that have 3.4 GPAs or higher.


October 2nd, 2011
11:56 pm

@Gerald you sir are what we like to call an idiot. He wanted to go to 2 games and helicopter seemed like an easy way to accoplish that goal so he did it.

Honest and Frank Discussion

October 3rd, 2011
7:18 am

Be a lot cooler if the Helicopter didn’t look like a kids toy.


October 3rd, 2011
7:54 am

That is a rental helicopter. They are available for rent at most mid-size airports.


October 3rd, 2011
8:02 am

Any ACC or SEC coach can rent one of those. Frankly, many readers could rent one for the evening. It’s a gimmick. Google the tail number.

@ TDawg- Gerald is right.

October 3rd, 2011
8:10 am

My guess is you are

@ TDawg- Gerald is right.

October 3rd, 2011
8:13 am

He would never haved tweeted it if he was not showing off. You guys can say”Its VandY” all day long but I am sure that is What Trojan fans said about Stanford. He can win at Vandy. Can he win SEC titles. Doubt it, but he can win.


October 3rd, 2011
8:16 am

No gerald, Vandy can’t win like northwestern and stanford because Vandy doesnt play in the pac-10 or the big 10. Not because of the coaches.


October 3rd, 2011
8:36 am

Its Candy football, oxymoron…like OC Bobo.

Delbert D.

October 3rd, 2011
9:50 am

It’s recruiting. A lot of the job is showmanship.


October 3rd, 2011
10:39 am

It’ll soon be outlawed as was the Auburn “trooper taylor” Limo.

more like chris christy than lame kiffin

October 3rd, 2011
11:02 am

if you ask me. did he have a limo drive him the 1/4 mile from the helicopter to the field?

lmao…. what a phat joke chris christy is. he would fold like a suitcase if he tried his bullying act on a real man.

look for vandy

October 3rd, 2011
11:05 am

to get investigated for recruiting violations just like the rest of the sec. i see oversigning and many sa arrests (like uga) in their near future.

tooooo funny.

Barack Dawg

October 3rd, 2011
11:07 am

Glad to see you showed back up MORON – that would be UGA speak for Gerald. Vandy – sleeping Giant – yeah right. They will get players but they won’t get enough. Go back to sleep now.


October 3rd, 2011
11:17 am

ATL Vol was being sarcastic about Lane Kiffin building a wall around Atlanta. Kiffin said the same thing about Memphis. It didn’t happen.


October 3rd, 2011
11:24 am

I’ve seen helicopters before, and nicer ones than that. What’s the big deal?


October 3rd, 2011
11:49 am

Obviously Franklin has done enough driving in Atlanta to know that visiting two highschool games in one night is not going to happen without a helicopter.


October 3rd, 2011
11:50 am

Fence around Atl….lmfao! Crazy hillbillys


October 3rd, 2011
12:09 pm

VANDY is VANDY…………………………………DOORMAT of the SEC. Always has and always will be in FOOTBALL.

BAMA……………………………Please do not clean your feet before you step on them this Saturday

just saying

October 3rd, 2011
12:30 pm

So when one of the self serving coaches crash and take out some fans, will it still be impressive. Cut the carney show and just recruit like everyone else.

Baby Bennett frisky

October 3rd, 2011
12:33 pm

Enter your comments here


October 3rd, 2011
12:36 pm

Mark Richt certainly cannot afford to lose any top recruits (3* or whoever) to Vanderbilt. He also cannot afford to lose any GAME to Vanderbilt anytime soon.


October 3rd, 2011
12:53 pm



October 3rd, 2011
12:55 pm

Coaches given free bling…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Coaches gone wild in state of TN or chizhead at aub… surprise
I just wanna know when did Vandy get a booster and who is he?

[...] whimsy: Please enjoy this crucial college football statistical study. All hail the Franklincopter. Hey, here’s a fun Northwestern factoid! Russell Wilson’s Heisman campaign is live. [...]


October 3rd, 2011
12:58 pm

Vandy actually has a booster to pay for that?

Stewie Griffin

October 3rd, 2011
1:15 pm

Our boosters are better than your boosters!


October 3rd, 2011
1:16 pm

Anything to get your name out there. It’s a positive move for Vandy as it has gotten them attention. If I was Vandy I would recruit metro Atlanta hard.

Mr. Pewterschmidt

October 3rd, 2011
1:30 pm

Did somebody call for a booster?

I dunno

October 3rd, 2011
1:34 pm

Hey poof!!!,….Majority of these kids can’t handle Vandy’s academics. Heck they couldn’t even handle Atlanta Public Schools academics when answers are given to them.

Beverly Hall

October 3rd, 2011
1:43 pm

Don’t get me involved….Vandy too smart for my cheating


October 3rd, 2011
2:22 pm

Vanderbilt is a nice school, my wife almost went there. But winning what– a dozen games in your four-year career in front of smallish crowds. That’s great for 2-stars, but not much for 4 or 5-star players who will win conference or national championships. Nobody in the NFL cares if went to Vanderbilt or Valdosta.


October 3rd, 2011
2:31 pm

Just who exactly was he there to see?

Giirly Girl

October 3rd, 2011
3:36 pm

Actually, for a team that’s been a cellar dweller, Vandy has sent a very respectable group of players to the NFL. For example, check out the Chicago Bears roster if you other SEC fans can even read. What Coach Franklin is trying to accomplish at Vanderbilt might not fully develop this season, but he has a plan to make the Commodores relevant, and his optimism and dedication to the program are contagious.


October 3rd, 2011
4:43 pm

@Giirly Girl…getting a bit defensive? Call out the person who said something about Vandy and NFL players. The rest of us in the SEC can read, except for people in AL…hehe…Vandy’s a great school, but gets kidded for being, as you say, a “cellar dweller”. Loveable loser status as far as SEC goes. So it’s funny to see a Vandy coach doing something you would hardly expect a coach from a big time program do.


October 3rd, 2011
6:00 pm

Franklin WILL make vandy competitive. He is a great recruiter and will be able to steal away athletes from UGA and other top teams. This soon will not be your “mom and pops” Vandy team!!


October 3rd, 2011
6:05 pm

At least Vanderbilt is running a clean program, and everytime you pick up the paper or turn on the T.V. your seeing one of your athlete’s(U.G.A.) arrested . Keep it up Coach Franklin and any team playing the Dawgs!!!!!!!! Go GT(5-0)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


October 3rd, 2011
6:10 pm

Good observations Girly Girl! You can tell most of these comments are from Ga. fans and they would never recognize that.


October 3rd, 2011
6:25 pm

I was actually at the game when that happened. That was the craziest thing I had ever seen. I think he was there to see the Walton RB!


October 3rd, 2011
9:16 pm

Better be careful… ask Auburn about their Limo Caravan!