All is fair in love, war … and recruiting. It seems to have become a daily occurrence that a college program devises some new strange, quirky, indelibly odd tactic.
Texas A&M has the #Swagcopter. Rice once sent a letter to a recruit’s cat. Chuck Amato, the erstwhile coach for N.C. State, once sung Dean Martin to a recruit who committed elsewhere. Jim Harbaugh has sleepovers.
So, it’s really quite refreshing, actually, that Vanderbilt hauled in a pair of recruits via, partly, an inadvertent fishing trip.
This past December, Allan Walters, a 4-star quarterback from The Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J., pledged his commitment to the Commodores over SEC rivals Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Missouri and Texas A&M. But in convincing Walters, Vanderbilt was unknowingly getting a package deal with Dan Dawkins, Walters’ teammate at The Peddie School.
“Our friendship got built off those times when we’d go fishing, and that made us close. That’s important for a center and quarterback,” Walters told the Tennessean. “So, I committed, and then when he got an offer from Vanderbilt, I was just constantly on him — like 24/7 — trying to get him to Nashville.”
The fishing trip bonding paid off in massive dividends for Vanderbilt. Three months after Walters gave the nod to Vanderbilt, Dawkins did the same.
Like Walters, Dawkins, a 6-foot-1, 296-pound center whom Rivals has touted as No. 1 in the country at his position, had his options, namely Michigan, Missouri and North Carolina.
With commitments from Walters and Dawkins, as well as Miles Jones, a 5-foot-9 wide receiver, Vanderbilt’s class of 2018 currently ranks 45th in the country, which would be its best since 2013, when the Commodores hauled in the 26th-best recruiting class.