Vanderbilt coach Kenny Carter has been working hard to get more of a foothold in the state of Texas and his hard work has paid off with a commitment from one of the top private school players in the Lone Star State.
Beaumont (Texas) Cathedral defensive tackle Rob Ashabranner committed to Vanderbilt on Tuesday, picking the Commodores over interest from SMU, Rice, Mississippi State and others.
"Coach Carter told me they were sending an offer through the mail after they watched me at the NIKE Camp in College Station," Ashabranner said. "I then got the letter a little bit later on, and I decided to go ahead and make the commitment. I called coach Carter, and they were very excited. He took the phone and passed it around to the head coach, the d-line coach and defensive coordinator."
So why did he pick Vanderbilt?
"Well, the main reason was because they came out and noticed me first," he said. "Plus the fact they are in the SEC and playing big time football, but the main reason was when no one else was paying attention to me they were sending e-mails and even came down to the school."
Ashabranner earned first-team all-district and all-state honors in 2005. Ashabranner had 60 tackles, 27 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns as a junior.
"SMU, Rice, Mississippi St., Arkansas, TCU and Oklahoma State were showing me some interest," he said. "But it was Vanderbilt and SMU that showed me the most interest. SMU also called me."