This morning marks the beginning of the spring signing period for basketball and baseball recruiting. But it doesn't appear that there will be a rush to the fax machine to send off signed letters of intent to Vanderbilt's coaches.
Stallings hoping to hear from Californian soon
On the basketball front, VU head coach Kevin Stallings has two scholarships to offer, and is waiting to fill at least one of those this week. The prime candidate appears to be California power forward DarShawn McClellan.
McClellan, at 6-foot-6/220, has been one of the most watched unsigned prospects on the west coast for most of this season, and visited Vanderbilt's campus last week. McClellan reportedly participated in pick-up games with several current VU players while on his visit.
The athletic tweener currently has a Vandy scholarship offer, but returned to Fresno without making a decision. He also has offers from hometown Fresno State, as well as Pepperdine, Cal Poly and Pacific.
McClellan has been a late target of Boston College, but rumors of coach Al Skinner possibly departing for the NBA's Charlotte coaching job appear to have taken BC off the table. Arizona State, Clemson and Nevada have recruited McClellan but reportedly did not offer him a scholarship.
While McClellan's height has been a concern for schools in the major conferences, Vanderbilt's new "flex" offensive system might make that a non-factor. Senior shooting guard Dan Cage, who is 6-5, became one of the most effective four position players in the SEC this season. Unlike Cage -- though similar to former 6-foot-7 VU power forward Corey Smith -- McClellan has a large frame that could "fill out" in a college-level weight and conditioning program.
The addition of McClellan would provide needed depth behind 6-foot-9 rising senior Ross Neltner and 6-foot-8 power rising sophomore forward JeJuan Brown. Rising senior Alan Metcalfe also returns on the frontline for Vandy next year.
Also on the radar for Vanderbilt is 6-foot-4, 192-pound shooting guard Ty Abbott. Abbott, from Phoenix's Desert Vista High, had made a verbal commitment to New Mexico last fall, but was released from his LOI after the dismissal of head coach Ritchie McKay.
Abbott was scheduled, but never took, an official visit to Nashville last fall.
In addition to UNM, Abbott paid official visits to Utah and Wichita State. Ironically, both of those schools have also made changes in their head coaching positions. Shocker head coach Mark Turgeon was named the new head coach at Texas A&M this week. Tulsa also offered Abbott a scholarship last fall, but it is not clear that offer remains on the table.
This spring, several high major programs have gotten serious about wooing Abbott to their respective spring signing day lists. Washington has now officially offered a scholarship, and on Monday Abbott received an official offer from hometown Arizona State.
Abbott has also received scholarship offers from Washington State, Illinois and Virginia Tech. He is scheduled to make official campus visits to both Washington schools next weekend.
Stallings and recruiting coach King Rice entered this season with five scholarships to offer. Three of those slots were filled last fall.
Keegan Bell, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Alabama, was Vandy's first commitment early last fall. Bell, whose father is a prominent high school coach in the state, is a pass first playmaker who is rated as a Rivals.com 3-star prospect. Currently, Bell is nationally ranked by Rivals as the 27th-best point guard in the class. Bell, who originally committed to Georgia, was also recruited by Louisiana State and Ole Miss, among many others.
The Commodores also received signatures from center Andrew Ogilvy and wing Andre Walker. Ogilvy is widely thought to be the most skilled amateur big man in Australia, and has spent the past two years playing international club ball throughout the Pacific Rim. At 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, Ogilvy has the size and experience to make an immediate impact this coming fall. Rivals ranks Ogilvy as the 20th best center recruit in this class.
Walker, a 6-foot-7 wing forward, prepped in Illinois, but suffered a serious foot injury the summer before his senior year. To help boost his recruiting stock, Walker elected to pass on several scholarship offers to attend Wolfeboro (NH) Brewster Academy this past season.
While at Homewood-Frossmoor High in Illinois, Walker was an all-state selection, finalist for the Mr. Basketball award, and team most valuable player in 2006. He averaged 16 points, eight rebounds, and five assists.
Walker was offered scholarships by Seton Hall (twice), Cleveland State, Boston, Howard, Loyola Maryland, Arizona State and Colorado.
Corbin adds one to six-member fall class; Plans to add more
On the baseball front, head coach Tim Corbin and recruiting coach Erik Bakich VU have received a verbal commitment from one player so far in this class. Kellen St. Luce, a 6-foot-7 left handed pitcher from the Virgin Islands, made a verbal commitment to attend Vanderbilt in February.
"I don't know what to say. It really is something," St. Luce said to the Virgin Islands Daily News. "I don't know if it hit me yet or not. It just means though that I have to work that much harder now being signed by a school where all the top recruits want to go."
St. Luce is the top baseball prospect in the Virgin Islands, and has been widely thought to be one of the most promising prep pitchers in the nation. After participating in the elite Perfect Game Showcase tournament, St. Luce was said to be "very projectable" with an 88 mph fast ball and a major league curve ball that he can throw with plus speed.
VandySports.com has learned that there will be other signees to be added to the Commodore baseball spring signing list next week.
Vanderbilt signed six highly recruited prospects during the fall signing period. Pitchers Chase Reid, Sean Bierman and Nashville's Taylor Hill will join St. Luce in the dugout this fall. Reid, at 6-foot 3 and 195 pounds, picked Vandy over offers from Stanford, Arkansas and Texas Christian.
Bierman is one of the top left handed pitchers in the northeast, and is ranked 172 in his class. He plays for the same Bayside Yankees traveling team that brought the Commodores Pedro Alvarez, Nick Christiani and David Macias. Bierman picked VU over Virginia, Tulane and Arizona State.
Hill is the third Mt. Juliet High School student to join the Commodore program since Corbin took over the program. Hill is ranked as the No. 1 pitcher in the state of Tennessee, and No. 230 overall. He chose Vandy over Tennessee and Georgia Tech.
Vandy also signed three elite position players last fall. Catcher Curt Casali is ranked by Baseball America as the 94th best player in the nation, and is also a standout football player. At 6-foot3 and 210 pounds, Casali is a legitimate power hitter who was named a 2006 Louisville Slugger High School All american.
Outfielder Joey Manning was one of the most heavily recruited prep baseball players in the nation. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing in at 235 pounds, Manning is a five-tool prospect that is receiving heavy interest from pro scouts who hope to lure him away from playing college ball. Manning picked the Commodores over Miami (FL), among countless others.
First baseman Aaron Westlake rounds out the fall signing class for VU. Westlake is widely rated as the No. 1 player in the state of California, and is ranked 116th by Baseball America nationally. Westlake plays for the same Nor Cal traveling team that sent Alex Feinberg, Parker Hanks and Ryan Davis to VU. Westlake picked Vanderbilt overe offers from Fullerton, Louisiana State and California, among many others.
. increasingly more frugal in offering scholarships. With the team's rise to the top of the national rankings, and superstars like Pedro Alvarez and David Price as drawing cards, the Commodores simply don't need to sign large classes to fill out their roster.
In addition, all but one of Vanderbilt's signees from the previous class are redshirting this year. Only pitcher Mike Minor has seen action so far.
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