2014 Vandy Preview: What You Need To Know
Vanderbilt LB Darreon Herring
Vanderbilt LB Darreon Herring
Posted Jun 4, 2014

Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About Vanderbilt (Getty Images)

2014 Vanderbilt Preview

What You Need To Know...

- 2014 Vanderbilt Preview 
2014 Depth Chart & Unit Rankings To Come This Summer

What You Need To Know About The Offense: The offense wasn't explosive enough and wasn't balanced, finishing averaging just 367 yards per game. New offensive coordinator Karl Dorrell, the former UCLA head coach, knows how to get an attack moving, and he's going to start out relying on the running game with a deep group of backs to work in. Jerron Seymour is the star of the show, but he won't have to carry the workload. The line should be a major plus with four returning starters after a decent season, but the pass protection has to be far better with questions at quarterback. The receiving corps is the biggest concern after losing Jordan Matthews and his 112 catches and No. 2 target Jonathan Krause who came up with 42. The leading returning wide receiver – Jordan Cunningham – made 15.

What You Need To Know About The Defense: With a move to the 3-4, the defense needs to make a few adjustments including Kyle Woestmann from a defensive end to outside linebacker to go along with Caleb Azubike and Darreon Herring for a strong corps. The front three should have a decent rotation and should be able to hold up with Vince Taylor and Adam Butler locking things up inside. Generating more of a pass rush is a must to make up for several big losses in a great secondary. The corner situation will turn out to be fine with some excellent young talents, but it might take a little while to make up for the loss of leading tackler Kenny Ladler and top hitters Javon Marshall and Andre Hal.

Players You Need To Know

1. LB Darreon Herring, Jr.
In his first year as a starter, the 6-1, 232-pounder turned into a top part of a strong defense finishing second on the team with 84 tackles with 1.5 sacks and three tackles for loss. Fantastic in pass coverage, he came up with ten broken up passes with the quickness to get all over the field. The ten-tackle game against Georgia was his biggest performance, but he was steady and consistent throughout the year. A terrific prospect and a great get for the program, he's coming through as a versatile defender who can play anywhere in the corps.

2. DE/LB Kyle Woestmann, Sr.
As a key defensive end, he's a high-motor athlete who followed up a six sack season 40 tackles, seven tackles for loss and six more sacks. Now the 6-3, 252-pounder will work as an outside linebacker and pass rusher. While he's an effort defender, he has the athleticism to handle the shift to become a consistent and disruptive force. The coaching staff will move him around where needed.

3. RB Jerron Seymour, Jr.
The 5-6, 200-pounder turned into a scoring machine, running for a touchdown in every game except for two, not counting the game he missed against Wake Forest. Very fast and extremely quick, he has a great burst through the hole and has nice hands, finishing third on the team with 19 catches for 126 yards. While he only averaged 4.37 yards per carry, he was good on short yardage plays on the way to a team-leading 716 yards with 14 scores. He only had one 100-yard day, running for 107 yards and two scores against UAB, but he can be a workhorse if needed.

4. C Joe Townsend, Sr.
He took over the starting job in the middle a few years ago, and now he's a mainstay as a tough 6-3, 310-pound leader for a good line. Built like a guard, he beefed up in a big way over the last few years and turned into a blaster or a blocker on short-yardage plays. While he might not be the best center in the SEC, he won't be far off.

5. LB Caleb Azeubike, Jr.
The sky's the limit for the 6-4, 260-pound outside linebacker. With 31 tackles, four sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss, he's a strong hybrid defender who should be a perfect fit in the new 3-4 alignment working as a combination of defensive end and linebacker. A good pass rusher, he has the potential to be a pure pass rusher who blossoms with a little bit of room to move. He has the prototype size and look, and the stats should come.

6. OT Andrew Jelks, Soph.
The rising star on the line, he spent last year working on the right side but he should fill in for Wesley Johnson on the left side. At 6-6 and 305 pounds, he's not massive but he has a great frame and is turning into a sharp, technical pass protector. He still needs to get a bit bigger with the ability to add at least ten pounds of good weight, but as is, he has all-star potential and should turn into the team's best all-around blocker.

7. DT Adam Butler, Soph.
The former offensive tackle has turned into a strong anchor of a defensive lineman making 25 tackles with six tackles for loss as part of the rotation inside. Originally considered a backup who might help out with a little bit of depth, he turned into a good run stopper as the season went on – now he knows what he's doing. At 6-4 and 305 pounds he has the size and the frame to eat things up, and he's quick enough to get behind the line from time to time.

8. RB Brian Kimbrow, Jr.
The 5-8, 185-pound speedster saw a reduced role for most of last year, rushing for just 341 yards and three touchdowns and catching five passes for 19 yards, but it he's given the work, he'd shine. Better as a freshman, he averaged 6.3 yards per carry with 413 yards. He also took a step back as a kick returner, averaging just 16 yards per try after averaging 22.1 yards a pop in 2012. Expect him to bounce back.

9. LB Jake Sealand, Jr.
Really quick and with the skills to see time in the middle, he worked his way into the rotation finishing fifth on the team making 45 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss. He hit the weights to get up to 230 pounds on his 6-2 frame, and now he should be ready to handle more work and be one of the team's most consistent tacklers. As long as he holds up, he'll come up with double digit tackles on a regular basis and be among the team's leading tacklers.

10. CB/KR Darrius Sims, Soph.
Stepping in as a true freshman, the corner prospect turned into a nice kick returner averaging 23.1 yards per pop highlighted by a 71 yard dash against Tennessee. The 5-9, 178-pounder might be more of a star as a return man, but he's also going to be a key part of the secondary puzzle after seeing a little time making ten tackles with a broken up pass. Really quick and with great athleticism, he'll eventually grow into a key role somewhere in the secondary.

- 2014 Vanderbilt Preview