They might not be in a position to win a national championship in football anytime soon similar to the baseball team’s successful run to the College World Series, but under James Franklin, the team trended upward. With Franklin off to Penn State and Derek Mason taking over, it’s a new era in Nashville. A look at the Commodores wraps up our SEC East scouting report. (The South Carolina Gamecocks visit Vandy on September 20.)
Last Year: 9-4 (4-4 SEC)
Head Coach: Derek Mason (1st season)
Key returnees: QB Patton Robinette, ILB Jake Sealand and Darreon Herring, OLB Caleb Azubike and Kyle Woestmann
Key departures: QB Austyn Carta-Samuels, RB Jerron Seymour, WR Jonathan Krause and Jordan Matthews, S Kenny Ladler and Javon Marshall, DB Andre Hal
Why they’ll win the SEC East
If the Commodores are to win the East, they’ll have to do it with defense: Mason, one of the emerging defensive minds in the country over at Stanford, hopes to bring his success to Music City. He’ll have second-leading tackler Darreon Herring along with sack leaders Kyle Woestmann and Caleb Azubike in the fold. There’s also some strong pieces coming on board on D, including big top-10 DE Nifae Lealao and top-25 safeties Trent Sherfield and Emmanuel Smith, along with last year’s ninth-best recruiting class ready to contribute. It’s Patton Robinette’s team under center, and the then-freshman showed promise when called upon in his appearance, including a win over Georgia.
Why they won’t win the SEC East
Vandy has just lost way too much from last year’s team. With their #1 quarterback, top two receivers, #1 running back, and much of their defense gone (among others), the chips will definitely be stacked against the Dores in 2014. That’s not to say the Commodores won’t thrive under Mason, but it might take a couple of years to make an impression and fully implement his blueprint at his new place of employment.
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