Derek Mason and the Vanderbilt Commodores could not have gotten off to a better start to the season. But they’ll have some tough tasks over the next month.
The Commodores beat Middle Tennessee State and Alabama A&M, but Vanderbilt’s next four games all come against ranked opponents, starting with Kansas State on Saturday.
But Mason does have the Commodores pointed in the right direction and could make it through that stretch with a few nice pelts on the wall. In his third season, Mason directed Vanderbilt to a bowl game for the first time since 2013. Then, in May, he received a contract extension.
The Commodores got off to a hot start on the recruiting trail but have faded in the past month. Their 2018 recruiting class has dropped from fifth to 11th as teams such as Georgia and Auburn have jumped past them in the 247Sports composite rankings. Vanderbilt’s highest-rated recruits are 4-star LB Alston Orji and 4-star WR Camron Johnson.
That’s significant improvement from the past four recruiting cycles when Vanderbilt finished with the worst class in the SEC. And given the mess at Ole Miss, that doesn’t look like it will be the case this season.
In the SEC Country approval rating poll from August, Mason came in with an 82.3 rating, which left him eighth among SEC coaches.
In his three seasons at Vanderbilt, Mason is 13-24 overall and 5-19 in SEC games. Former Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, meanwhile, led Penn State to a Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl appearance last season.
Mason reportedly will be paid approximately $2.5 million this season. The Commodores take on No. 18 Kansas State on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
Vote on Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason’s approval rating
The SEC Country approval rating poll is designed to give an indication of fan happiness over a period of time.
Our formula is based on the percentage of respondents who select each answer. We multiply that percentage by the following factors: 1 (strongly approve), 0.67 (approve), 0.33 (disapprove) and 0.0 (strongly disapprove). In other words, if 50 percent of respondents select “strongly approve” and 50 percent select “approve,” the formula would be (50 x 1) + (50 x 0.67) = 83.5% approval rating.