The argument can be made that the kicking game is more important to Vanderbilt than just about any other college football team.
After all, the Commodores were one of just four NCAA BCS teams that punted more than 80 times in 2009. Not only that, but they attempted more field goals (21) than extra points (20) last fall.
With that in mind, it makes sense that VU signed Andrew East, a highly-regarded long snapper out of Indianapolis, to a national letter-of-intent Monday.
“We’re pleased to have Andrew join our football team and look forward to him participating this season,” coach Bobby Johnson said in a release announcing the addition to the program’s 2010 recruiting class. “We think Andrew is an excellent linebacker prospect and has the abilities to become an accomplished long snapper. He’s also an outstanding student in the classroom.”
He’ll likely have to wait his turn.
Senior linebacker John Stokes has been Vanderbilt’s snapper on punts for each of the past three seasons.
East (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) started at linebacker for North Central High School as a sophomore and a junior. He made more than 100 tackles as a junior.
Last fall he switched to defensive end and made 64 tackles with 11 tackles for a loss. He earned all-conference honors and an invitation to compete at the Indiana North-South All-Star Classic.
All three years, though, he also was the primary long-snapper and was named the team’s special teams player of the week on numerous occasions.
East will report this summer and be with the Commodores when they open preseason drills in August.