Derek Mason will be looking for some immediate help from Vanderbilt’s 2018 recruiting class after struggling to a 1-7 record during SEC play in 2017.
Luckily for the fifth-year Commodores coach, he may have several options within the highest-rated Vanderbilt recruiting class of his tenure.
Here’s a look at three players who could see early playing time in the fall:
Camron Johnson, wide receiver
Vanderbilt will have a need for several fresh faces in the receiver group for 2018, and Camron Johnson is arguably the best offensive recruit the Commodores signed in the 2018 recruiting class. The local product out of Brentwood, Tenn. was a 4-star prospect coveted by many of the nation’s top programs, which is probably a good sign he will see the field immediately.
Given that recent key contributors such as Trent Sherfield, Caleb Scott and C.J. Duncan have all exhausted eligibility, expect Johnson and perhaps another of the four wide receivers the Commodores signed to receive ample opportunity to play this fall.
Alston Orji, inside linebacker
Alston Orji is the No. 12 inside linebacker in the 2018 recruiting class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. If he’s as good as he’s billed to be, expect Mason to find a way to utilize him on a defense that was uncharacteristically bad under his direction in 2017.
Brendon Harris, defensive back
The Commodores typically attract a solid core of defensive backs to play under Mason, who considers the secondary his specialty. With Ryan White, Taurean Ferguson and Tre Herndon all gone from the Vanderbilt defensive backfield in 2018, there will be some opportunities for playing time out there. Harris, who was recruited as a safety, may be one of the players who gets a crack at playing time this fall.