Vanderbilt’s offense had some hype coming into the season as being a potentially underrated team. Currently, three of the players on this list are going to perform in the Senior Bowl. That being said, this team woefully under-performed this season. It was a difficult year, full of trial and disappointment. Now, these four players have a chance to go pro and really shine with the teams that give them a chance. There is talent here, don’t be fooled.
RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn (RS-Sr Transfer)
Ke’Shawn Vaughn is a guy that a lot of draft scouts were intrigued by last season, mostly as a speed guy on the edge and a receiver out of the backfield. Vaughn transferred to Vanderbilt after his sophomore season at Illinois to Nashville, a move that appeared to pay dividends after sitting a season. Vaughn is now a two time 1000 yard rusher, scoring a total of 33 touchdowns through his college career.
Vanderbilt up 7-0 on LSU already in large part to Ke’Shawn Vaughn. pic.twitter.com/5zY3b3Drlj— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) September 21, 2019
Vaughn projects well as a big play threat, as his seven touchdowns of more than 60+ yards was the highest among active FBS players. He has shown good contact balance and field vision, and is always fighting for extra yards. Add that with his ability to catch out of the back field and you have yourself a fine running back prospect. He’s currently a late day two-early day three guy.
TE Jared Pinkney (RS-Sr)
Jared Pinkney is an intriguing prospect. Over 114 receptions in his college career, Pinkney has averaged 13.7 yards per catch and scored 14 touchdowns. He’s a big bodied dude who really thrived in last seasons system, and was utilized by Kyle Shurmur.
Listed at 6’4″ and 265 pounds, one would expect him to be a sturdy blocker. This isn’t so much the case. Pinkney is more of a vertical threat, a guy who wants to use his body to out muscle defenders for the football. It’s not a great strategy because of his lack of speed, but regardless. Pinkney will have a lot to prove in the senior bowl with some more (hopefully) reliable quarterbacks throwing the ball to him.
WR Kalija Lipscomb (Sr)
I remember watching Kalija Lipscomb in Vanderbilts trip to Notre Dame last season and thinking that Lipscomb was a special player. He’s not much more than a quick slot guy, but that’s a valuable position now for many teams in the NFL. His junior season, his first as a full time starter, saw his best production as he became Vanderbilt quarterbacks Kyle Shurmurs favorite target. However, he senior year the production was cut by almost half, as Vanderbilt couldn’t find ways to get him the ball.
Riley Neal to Kalija Lipscomb here in the fourth quarter – Commodores still in this thing pic.twitter.com/iGvzmx4jat— Chad Bishop (@MrChadBishop) December 1, 2019
Lipscomb, as fore-mentioned, is a valuable slot guy. I don’t ever see him being more than a good WR2 for a team, but that’s okay. Teams need that. His hands are a bit of an issue, and it will hurt his draft stock, but he’s quick, separates, and plays smooth. Teams will like that.
QB Riley Neal (RS-Sr Transfer)
Riley Neal took a chance when he came to Vanderbilt as a graduate transfer from Ball State. Neal hadn’t had a perfect career at Ball State, but a lot of draft scouts liked what they had seen from him throughout his time in the MAC, citing that the lack of talent around him had more to do with his lack of production and lackluster performances. Coming to Vanderbilt was suppose to fix that.
Instead, Neal looked overwhelmed most of the time while facing against SEC competition. He suffered a concussion in the teams win over Missouri, but wasn’t a factor in their win. Instead, true freshman quarterback Mo Hassan led the team to victory with an impressive performance.
i see you, Riley Neal. pic.twitter.com/p8JJYd6Hc6— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) September 7, 2019
Neal has flashed an impressive ability to get the ball downfield on touch patterns, and reminds me much of Boise State’s Brett Rypien from last season. However, Neal isn’t consistent enough to be more than a third string quarterback in the league and may not get past being a camp arm.