Fall camp for the Vanderbilt football team is well underway and the season is quickly approaching. Vanderbilt travels to Hawaii to play in a Week Zero game against the Rainbow Warriors on August 27th. In preparation for the upcoming season, we are going to look at the position groups on offense, defense, and special teams heading into the 2022 season.
QB1: Mike Wright (Jr)
It has been a long time since Vanderbilt has gone into a football season knowing who their starting quarterback would be (the Kyle Shurmur years). Clark Lea did something that no Vanderbilt head ball coach has done in a while declaring who the QB1 would be heading into the season.
Mike Wright will be the starter for the ‘Dores heading into the season. Wright is a dynamic dual-threat QB that can keep an opposing defense on their toes with his legs and his ability to run. Wright’s ability to extend plays and use his legs to get out of trouble will be very helpful when it comes to an inexperienced and undersized offensive line.
QB2: Ken Seals (Jr)
Seals was the starter for the beginning of the season 2021 season and saw significant playing time. Seals is more of a true pro-style QB where he can stand in the pocket and deliver a good ball. The one knock against Seals is his lack of mobility and that is a big concern when the offensive line seems to have some holes. Could Seals see significant playing time during the season? Perhaps. If the offensive line shows some cohesion and ability to play well in pass pro could Seals maybe start this season? I would say that is not out of the cards.
QB3: A.J. Swann (Fr)
Swann was a big get for Lea and co. in this past recruiting class. Swann was a four-star out of Canton, GA. Swann has a lot of upside but is still young and getting acclimated to the offense. I would imagine he is the third option for Vanderbilt this year.
RB1: Re’Mahn Davis (Sr)
Davis, a transfer from Temple, showed lots of flash and promise in his short time playing for Vanderbilt last year before being sidelined by a toe injury. Davis is a shifty runner and has a lot of pop in his pads. Davis also is a good receiving option out of the backfield. This year, the veteran Davis should headline a committee group.
RB2: Patrick Smith (So)/Rocko Griffin (Jr)
It is too early to tell which of the two backs will be two and three in the pecking order but each player have a unique style and skill set that the other does not showcase often.
Smith is a great passing option out of the backfield. When Davis was sidelined last year, Smith showed a lot of speed and explosiveness out of the backfield, something that could compliment the run style of Griffin.
Griffin is the bigger of the two backs and shows a lot of power when he gets to running downhill. Griffin will more than likely be utilized in short-yardage situations and running between the tackles.
WR1: Will Sheppard (Jr)
Will Sheppard led the WRs in yards per catch in 2021 with an average of 13.4. Sheppard showed flashes of being a dynamic receiver and was impressive with what he did after the catch. Sheppard can stretch the field for Vanderbilt in the passing game and also has the speed to make men miss in the open field with short-yardage passes.
WR2: Quincy Skinner Jr (So)
Skinner played in eight games during the 2021 season but saw no catches. Regardless, he has had a great spring. Skinner was a four-star recruit in the 2021 class and a big get for the ‘Dores. Skinner has good speed but where he seemed to shine was with his solid hands and crisp route running.
WR3: Devin Boddie Jr (R-Jr)/Jayden McGowan (Fr)
Jayden McGowan is an undersized WR coming in at 5’8″ but what he lacks in height, he makes up for in speed. McGowan was a South Carolina state champion in the 100-meter and 200-meter during high school and bring speed to the WR corp that Vanderbilt has not seen in a long time. I think we can expect McGowan to be featured in this offense as WR3 but also be the star of some designed plays where his speed is utilized.
Devin Boddie Jr is a bit taller clocking in at 5’11” and has seen action as a Commodore. During the 2021 season, Boddie made an appearance in all twelve games and brings valuable experience to this Vanderbilt WR room.
TE1: Ben Bresnahan (R-Sr)
Bresnahan is the most experienced player on this offense and will play a massive role this season. A classic big-bodied tight end that is effective in blocking and receiving, Bresnahan will be a cornerstone of this offense in all facets. If Vanderbilt wants to have success this season, then they must utilize Bresnahan early and often.
TE2: Gavin Shoenwald (R-Sr)
Shoenwald has had various injuries over his career, but if he can stay healthy then he will be an important piece to this Vanderbilt offense. Shoenwald will see considerable action on the field as Vanderbilt will run quite a bit of 12 personnel this season.