Maplewood's Vanlier makes college choice the way he runs — fast

Monday, January 23, 2012 at 8:42pm

Maplewood High’s lightning fast running back Ladarius Vanlier said Monday he has decided to play at Tennessee Tech.

“I had a wonderful time up there when I made my visit,” said Vanlier, who rushed for more than 4,000 yards in his career. “I just felt right at home there, and everyone was very friendly I’m looking forward to playing for coach [Watson] Brown. I like the whole coaching staff. I committed immediately. I didn’t see any point in making other visits.”

Vanlier finished a spectacular football career at Maplewood by rushing for 2,290 yards and scoring 24 touchdowns in a great senior season when his team reached the Class 4A state finals. Six times, he rushed for more than 200 yards in 2011, including a season-high 316-yard, four touchdown game against Creek Wood in the opening round of the playoffs.

Vanlier was named a TSSAA Mr. Football 4A finalist and also to the City Paper All-Nashville team.

Maplewood finished 11-4 and had a seven-game winning streak snapped in the state championship at Cookeville.

Vanlier now will return to the scene of his last high school game, which came in the Panthers’ loss to Greeneville in the state finals at Tech back on Dec. 3.

“They told me I could start out right away competing as a running back and also special teams, rather than defense, and that was important to me,” he said.

Among several area schools, Vanlier (5-foot-6, 160 pounds) said Tennessee State showed a lot of interest.

• Goodpasture star quarterback Keenan Reynolds has reportedly narrowed his college decision down to three — Wofford, Air Force and the Naval Academy, which he visited over the weekend.