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No Ceilings: James Franklin’s Debut

Posted by on Saturday, July 23, 2011 in Academics, Athletics, College Life, Nashville.

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) Media Days came to a conclusion in Hoover, Alabama on Friday afternoon with James Franklin fielding questions from a room full of a few hundred media reporters and personalities. Franklin sounded excited and committed to the job ahead. It has been a whirlwind for the new Commodore head football coach as he took over for Robbie Caldwell this past winter.

What seems surprising to most who follow college football recruiting is the fact that Vanderbilt, which is not known for reeling in highly touted high school football prospects, has been on a tear this summer. In a recent Class of 2012 recruiting class ranking publication by ESPN, Vanderbilt is ranked as having one of the top 25 recruiting classes in the nation. This is testament to James Franklin’s take on recruiting that he discussed with the media in Hoover on Friday. His pitch to prospective student athletes focuses on the opportunities that would be available to them if they were to play football at Vanderbilt University.

These opportunities include, first and foremost, the opportunity to get a world class education while playing football at Vanderbilt. In addition to the academic excellence of Vanderbilt, similar excellence in athletics can be seen in the SEC. The quality of football in the SEC as a whole is another opportunity Franklin presents to prospects. This is conference in recent years has had no equivalent across the country when it comes to football as the past five national champions including Auburn, Florida, LSU, and Alabama have come from the SEC. The opportunity for a football player to play against top-flight talent on elite teams can help them improve their skills on the football field. Another opportunity that Franklin presents is the opportunity to live in a great town in Nashville, Tennessee. Vanderbilt, one of the few SEC schools in a large city such as Nashville, exposes student athletes to a lot of experiences off the field that they might not be able to find elsewhere. The last point that prospects should take into account is that there are opportunities for early playing time as underclassmen at Vanderbilt. The line is not long to get onto the field at Vanderbilt so this may be appealing to potential recruits.

So while we may not get any answers about right now about how James Franklin will fare this season, his work ethic, efforts off the field, and commitment to improving Vanderbilt Football cannot be questioned thus far. With that in mind, we have a little over a month until the Commodores and their new coach take the field against Elon on opening weekend.

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