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Projecting Vanderbilt’s 2022 Football Roster: The Commits

On Friday, I took a look at Vanderbilt football’s possible returning roster for the 2022 season. Today, I’ll look at the players currently committed to the Commodores in the 2022 class, of which there are 19.

Quarterbacks

Projected returnees: 2

Current commits: AJ Swann (#387 in 247 Sports composite), Drew Dickey (#912)

Total: 4

After the addition of AJ Swann, a signal-caller out of Georgia who’s rated as a four-star by Rivals, I think Vanderbilt is done here. The only open question is what happens if one of the two incumbents decides to transfer. Would Vanderbilt try to find an option in the transfer portal to avoid having one of two true freshmen as the backup?

Running Backs

Projected returnees: 4

Current commits: Maurice Edwards (#656), Chase Gillespie (#917)

Total: 6

Another place where I think Vanderbilt is done. I’d have been fine with just the returning talent here, but Vanderbilt is adding some depth (and a potential impact player in Edwards.) Here’s where I point out that, with six players projected on the roster at the position, one of the returnees (the most likely candidate is Dylan Betts-Pauley, who barely saw the field in 2021 in spite of Vanderbilt having to move a defensive back over to the position) may decide to hit the transfer portal.

Wide Receivers

Projected returnees: 6

Current commits: Jayden McGowan (#880), Daveon Walker (#919), KD Hutchinson (#966)

Total: 9

Nine receivers on the roster seems fine, though there are a couple of questions here; namely, whether Walker (who picked up offers from Maryland and West Virginia after committing in November) sticks in the class, and whether anybody projected to return (maybe Logan Kyle, who’s been little-used in two years in the program) elects to hit the portal. If either of those happen, Vanderbilt might add someone else, perhaps from the transfer portal. With Cam Johnson and Chris Pierce departing, the options behind Will Sheppard are mostly unproven.

Tight Ends

Projected returnees: 5

Current commits: Cole Spence

Total: 6

Yeah, six tight ends seems like a lot for an offense that just doesn’t seem like it’s going to feature the tight end a ton, and keeping both Ben Bresnahan and Gavin Schoenwald out of the transfer portal feels like a significant win. If anything, there’s going to be some thinning the herd here; Joel DeCoursey hasn’t seen the field at all (if I’m remembering correctly) in three years at Vanderbilt, and Brayden Bapst could move back to tackle.

Offensive Line

Projected returnees: 11 or 12

Current commits: Grayson Morgan (#756), Levi Harber, David Siegel

Total: 14 or 15

The numbers here don’t seem exceptionally thin, but this is also a place where Vanderbilt probably needs immediate help. Then again, I’ve expressed my skepticism toward using the transfer portal as a place to find offensive linemen, so that may limit Lea’s ability to find help. One thing I will say here is that I like the commitment of Grayson Morgan, not only because he’s a good player, but he’s also local — and announcing that Vanderbilt is going to be a player for top Nashville prospects is a very good thing.

Defensive Line

Projected returnees: 9

Current commits: Darren Agu (#490), Bradley Mann (#607), Linus Zunk (#934)

Total: 12

Agu might be on decommitment watch after taking an official visit to Knoxville over the weekend, but either way, I think Clark Lea isn’t done here, since this is pretty thin for a team that intends to use a four-man front after spending years running three-man fronts under Derek Mason.

Linebackers

Projected returnees: 7 or 8 (plus Michael Owusu)

Current commits: Langston Patterson (#492), Bryce Cowan (#968)

Total: 9 or 10

Seems pretty thin, but with Vanderbilt moving off the 3-4, there aren’t going to be as many linebackers on the roster. Also, worth noting that Langston Patterson’s older brother Kane recently entered the transfer portal from Clemson and seems likely to end up at Vanderbilt.

Defensive Backs

Projected returnees: 11 or 12 (plus Max Worship)

Current commits: Gumbo Gaskins (#701), Steven Sannieniola (#932)

Total: 13 or 14

Yeah, this seems like a place that really needs some help, especially since three recruits have decommitted in the last few months. So there are going to be more additions here. Also, I am announcing that nobody at Anchor of Gold shall refer to Gumbo Gaskins by his given name (Quantaves.)

Specialists

Projected returnees: 2 or 3

Current commit: Alex Smith

Total: 3 or 4

I think the fact that Vanderbilt is adding scholarship punter Alex Smith is a sign that Harrison Smith is gone, because I don’t think Vanderbilt would carry two punters on scholarship. Also, Joseph Bulovas may return but wouldn’t count against the scholarship limit.


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