November 2, 2010

Following the commits: tenth edition

The Vanderbilt football program currently has 10 verbal commitments for the 2011 class. Led by head coach Robbie Caldwell, the Commodores have secured three pledges from inside the state of Tennessee, with each being important offensive line prospects. The staff has also received three skill position commitments from the state of Florida, a three-star lineman from the state of Illinois, defensive ends from Michigan and Ohio and an all-state offensive guard from Georgia.

Each week, tracks the progress of every current Vanderbilt commitment during his senior season with the Commitment Tracker.



School: Starr's Mill High, Fayetteville (Ga.)
Position: Offensive Line

Last Week's Game: The Starr's Mill Panthers finished the regular season at 9-0 with a 42-8 victory over Harris County last Friday. Ranked 8th in the latest Class 4A state poll by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the sub-region champions made short work of the Tigers, holding Harris County to negative four yards rushing in the game and scoring 42 points during the first half. Future Vanderbilt offensive lineman Alex Barr helped guide the Panther offense to 315 total yards including 227 on the ground. The Panthers have now gained over 2,800 total yards including over 1,600 rushing yards this season. Starr's Mill outscored its opponents 320-72.

Next Game: Starr's Mill (9-0) will travel to Griffin this Friday in a game to decide the Region 3B-AAAA championship.


School: Crystal Lake South High, Crystal Lake (Ill.)
Position: Offensive Guard

Last Week's Game: The Crystal Lake South Gators defeated Grant 28-7 last Friday in the opening round of the Class 6A state playoffs. The undefeated Gators struggled early on, but dominated both lines of scrimmage as the game went on. Future Vanderbilt offensive lineman Jake Bernstein led a Gator attack that totaled 357 yards including 293 yards rushing. For the season, the three-star prospect has helped the Gator offense generate 2,455 rushing yards and 3,486 total yards. Crystal Lake South is ranked second in's Class 6A state rankings. A Class 7A team for most of the year, CLS was bumped a class down by the IHSA when state tournament pairings were announced two weeks ago.

Next Game: Crystal Lake South (10-0) will host Lake Forest this Friday in the second round of the playoffs.


School: Ribault High, Jacksonville (Fla.)
Position: Quarterback

Last Week's Game: Ribault moved to 6-2 on the season with a 47-0 thrashing of Baldwin last Friday. Vanderbilt quarterback commitment Damien Fleming had another good night, completing 12-of-17 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-foot-3 passer did throw two interceptions in the game but one was on a desperation throw at the end of the half. He also ran for 41 yards and a touchdown on five carries. For the year, Fleming has thrown for 1,631 yards and 16 touchdowns while completing 94-of-165 of his passes and committing seven interceptions. He has also rushed for nearly 350 yards and five more scores.

Next Game: Ribault (6-2) will travel to Raines this Saturday for the championship in District 2-2A.


School: Brother Rice High, Bloomfield Hills (Mich.)
Position: Defensive End

Last Week's Game: The Brother Rice Warriors 2010 season came to a sudden end last weekend with a 37-27 loss to Harrison in the first round of the Division 2 state tournament. The Warriors had a five-point lead and the ball in Harrison territory with under three minutes to play but the Hawks forced two turnovers including a 70-yard interception return for the game-clincher. It ended a five-game winning streak in which the Warriors twice beat teams ranked No.1 in the state going into the game. Future Vanderbilt defensive end Conor Hart finished his senior season with 71 tackles including 16 tackles for loss and seven sacks. He's also recovered two fumbles during the year and forced three more.

Next Game: Brother Rice finishes its 2010 season with a 6-4 record.


School: Hilliard Davidson High, Hilliard (Ohio)
Position: Defensive End

Last Week's Game: The Hilliard Davidson Wildcats finished the 2010 season undefeated after a 16-0 victory over rival Hilliard Darby last weekend. The Wildcats made an early mistake to open the game but responded by pounding the Panthers defensively from start to finish. Vanderbilt defensive end commit Keith Heitzman led the onslaught for most of the game and even had a blocked a punt on the Panthers first series of the second half that resulted in a safety. In the end, Darby only gained 160 yards of total offense and committed three turnovers. For the year, Heitzman has registered 73 tackles with nine sacks and 17 tackles for loss. He has helped the Wildcats offense gain over 3,000 yards while playing tight end. Heitzman has caught seven passes for 118 yards and a score.

Next Game: Hilliard Davidson (10-0) will begin it's pursuit of a second straight Division I state title on Saturday when it hosts Columbus Northland in the opening round of the Region 3-I playoffs.


School: Fletcher High, Neptune Beach (Fla.)
Position: Running Back

Last Week's Game: The Fletcher Senators had last weekend off. The Senators currently sit with a 7-1 record, including a 2-0 mark against its District 1-5A schedule. Future Vanderbilt running back Mitchell Hester has rushed for 1,111 yards and 15 touchdowns on 152 carries so far this season. He has also caught 15 passes for 161 yards and is averaging nearly 40 yards per return.

Next Game: Fletcher (7-1) will host First Coast High this Friday.


School: Florida Air Academy, Melbourne (Fla.)
Position: Running Back

Last Week's Game: The Florida Air Academy Falcons improved to 4-5 on the season with a 56-0 win over Lighthouse Christian last weekend. Playing his third game at quarterback, future Vanderbilt running back commit J.J. Keels completed 5-of-8 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown in the victory. He also rushed for 67 yards on four carries in the rout, including one for a 41-yard touchdown. For the year, Keels has now rushed for 1,042 yards and 11 touchdowns on 98 carries. He's also caught seven passes for 79 yards and accounted for five more total touchdowns while playing several different roles for the Falcons. He is considered one of Florida's top all-purpose running backs and was recently selected to play in the All-World Gridiron Classic this December.

Next Game: Florida Air Academy (4-5) will play Warner Christian Academy this Friday.


School: Arlington High, Arlington (Tenn.)
Position: Offensive Tackle

Last Week's Game: The Arlington Tigers improved to 8-2 on the year with a 20-19 win over Millington Central last Friday. The Tigers trailed in the fourth quarter but came out with the victory when kicker Kyle Mitchell converted on a 47-yard field goal. Future Vanderbilt offensive tackle James Lewis helped direct a offensive attack that gained 302 yards including 162 yards passing. For the year, Arlington has averaged 42.2 points per game and gained over 3,300 total yards, including 2,033 through the air. Lewis is considered one of the top offensive linemen in the state of Tennessee and a preseason all-state candidate. He is also getting serious consideration for the Mr.Football Award.

Next Game: Arlington (8-2) will host Wooddale in the opening round of the Class 6A state playoffs this Friday. The winner will face the winner of Whitehaven vs. White Station in the second round.


School: Evangelical Christian School, Cordova (Tenn.)
Position: Offensive Tackle

Last Week's Game: The ECS Eagles captured the program's second straight Distirct 1 (DII-A) championship and a first-round bye last Friday with a 48-7 victory over Harding Academy. The Eagles scored 14 points in the first quarter and finished out the opening half with a 35-0 lead. Future Commodore offensive lineman Spencer Pulley helped the Eagles gain 380 total yards, including 240 yards through the air. He also had four tackles and a five-yard fumble recovery while playing defensive line for the Eagles. ECS has gained 3,078 yards of offense on the year with Pulley anchoring the line at tackle. Pulley has also racked up 36 tackles including 11 for loss and a fumble recovery while playing on defense.

Next Game: Evangelical Christian (7-3) is the No.1 seed in the West District 1 of the Division II-A state playoffs and will face the winner of DCA vs. Jackson Christian next weekend.


School: Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge (Tenn.)
Position: Offensive Center

Last Week's Game: The Oak Ridge Wildcats finished the regular season at 6-4 with a dominating 48-7 win over Campbell County last Friday. Vanderbilt offensive line commitment Jose Valedon helped the Wildcat offense gain 486 total yards in the win, including 344 yards on the ground. The win clinched a 5th seed for Oak Ridge in the Class 6A state playoffs. For the season, Oak Ridge has racked up 3,205 yards of offense with over 2,150 yards rushing.

Next Game: Oak Ridge (6-4) will open up the Class 6A state playoffs with a trip to Cookeville this Friday. The winner would then face the winner of the Bradley Central vs. Coffee County game.

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