PHOTO: USA Today Sports
Former Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin accepted the Penn State job and has promptly raided the Commodores coaching staff. While Franklin has not yet made a formal announcement, PennLive.com is reporting that as many as eight (yes, eight!) members of the Commodores staff will be joining Franklin in Happy Valley.
This has left the Commodores staff absolutely gutted as they continue their coaching search. With the recruiting dead period now over, coaches can now contact prospective recruits. The problem for Vanderbilt? They don't have any coaches and Franklin is busy poaching their recruits.
Right now, it looks like offensive line coach Herb Hand and special teams coach Charles Bankins are the only coaches left in Nashville. With signing day just around the corner, it's up to these two coaches and two staff members (Rod Chance and Chad Walker) to try and keep their recruiting class together. These four have split off across the US (Hand to California, Bankins to Georgia, Chance to Florida and Walker to Illinois) in hopes of keeping some of their kids in tow.
According to the Tennessean, Vandy is down to ten commitments. 247 Sports had 20 listed for Vandy on Saturday! While you don't want to jump the gun on a head coaching hire, it is important for Vanderbilt to not only make sure they have the right guy but with the turnover they've had in the coaching ranks they need to make sure they have the right guy in place soon.
As it stands now, Hand is the leader trying to keep the Dores together and it's an interesting story to follow. Here are some of the messages that Hand is spreading on the recruiting trail.
Great education-SEC football-Nashville-Opportunity to make impact-Builder not renter...What has changed?--->We are now a Top 25 program! #AD— Herb Hand (@CoachHand) January 16, 2014
#ProspectRealTalk - There are two names that will be on your diploma that will NEVER change - Your's and Vanderbilt's - Both are powerful!— Herb Hand (@CoachHand) January 16, 2014
Will Hand and his three partners be able to keep Vandy afloat long enough for the incoming coach to get off to a positive start to his career at Vanderbilt?
Update: Rumors of Stanford DC Derek Mason becoming the next head coach at Vanderbilt are swirling. That would be a solid hire if it happens (and soon).