FishDuck Recruiting: 2015 ShrineDog Awards — Part II

Vanderbilt will never see this parked at their stadium

Here I am again with the second installment of the ShrineDog Awards for the football recruiting class of 2015. Part One took us to the University of Texas with PJ Locke, who flipped from Oregon. Part Two takes us to the state of Tennessee where the Grand Ole Opry takes a backseat to no one.

The common tie between the first ShrineDog of 2015 and the second is that Oregon was pursuing each of them. Locke had verbally committed to the Ducks for several months and waited until the 11th hour to flip to the school closer to home. However, the next ShrineDog Award candidate, Josh Smith, never verbally committed to Oregon. He just decided to stay closer to home.

Smith has great talent but wasting it at Vanderbilt

Kim Sutlive 247sports

Smith has great talent but is wasting it at Vanderbilt.

I know you’re wondering why he would get the ShrineDog Award merely because he wanted to be closer to home. Well, I have one word that should scream “NOOOOOO!” That word is “Vanderbilt.”

That’s right! A 4-star talent actually committed to Vanderbilt. He didn’t stay home to attend the University of Tennessee. Nope. He chose the Commodores. Really?!

If Vanderbilt were not in the SEC, nobody would know that it has a football team. I’m not saying that “Vandy” is a bad team — I’m saying it is a horrible team. Vanderbilt in the SEC is like “Mr. Irrelevant” in the NFL draft.

I understand that under James Franklin as head coach, Vanderbilt was actually competitive. Franklin ended his tenure with back-to-back 9-win seasons in 2012 and 2013. He took that success to Penn State for the 2014 season. That left Derek Mason with some serious momentum to continue great things at the academic all-star school. Mason’s first year did not pan out the way Commodore fans had envisioned.

The 3-9 record on the year was just the beginning of how the season could be summed up. Going 0-8 in conference play could have been expected — but it was the non-conference play that tells the rest of the story. A loss to Temple started off the season — but the scattering of weaker foes was necessary to pick up wins.

Even with a few “W’s,” it wasn’t pretty. The Commodores barely beat the University of Massachusetts by three points in Nashville. Later, “Vandy” eked out a single-point win over Charleston Southern. Finally, they were working on all cylinders and “killed” Old Dominion by 14 points. Does this sound like an SEC football team?

Puddles is still wondering why Smith didn't pick the Ducks in 2015

Kevin Cline

Puddles is still wondering why Smith didn’t pick the Ducks in 2015.

The good news is that Vanderbilt is returning only three of the four linebackers — which will make it easy for Smith to break into the starting lineup. Plus, Smith will be playing some of the toughest teams in the country if he is looking for good competition.

The bad news is that Smith will be playing for Vanderbilt. He will need to get used to winning only a few games each year — if the non-conference games are weak enough. Hopefully, he won’t have to be a part of the bowl game drought that the Commodores suffered through all the way up to 1974 — or between 1974 and 1982 — or between 1982 and 2008.

Only six bowl games in the school’s history will not provoke great odds to guarantee any post-season play. Oh, and Vanderbilt has never played for a conference championship in football.

In conclusion, Smith didn’t select Vanderbilt for football success. If he wanted success, he had many other suitors wanting his services — including an Oregon Duck team that will be in need of experienced linebackers in a few short years. Smith would have fit in nicely in the Oregon defense to help win a ton of games. Therefore, it is easy to give Josh Smith a ShrineDog Award.

Follow me on Twitter: @buzzbrother2

Top photo credit Craig Strobeck

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Jason Fowler

Jason Fowler

Jason, born and raised in central Oregon, first noticed college football when his older brother attended the University of Oregon. Jason studied English at Southern Oregon University and enjoyed cheering for the school’s team, but longed for that major college game-day experience. That desire slowly blossomed into a fanatical passion for the national feel of college football, especially defending the Pac-12 while challenging conferences like the SEC to step up. He has spent five years expounding on the differences between the two conferences on his blog,, set up solely for that purpose. Following the Ducks' recruiting progress in the off-season has made college football a year-round hobby for him. He now resides in Spokane, Washington with his incredibly patient, non-football-fan wife and three children, and works as an MRI Technologist. He can be reached at


    There are a number of recruits we could ask them why they didn’t choose a Duck team over the one they committed to. Like Budda Baker and Shaq Thompson as in did they seriously think that the Mutts were going to be the top North winners over Oregon? Also there are quite a few players who chose SC over Oregon even after the fact their Coach SUCK’S as in Sarkisian and I can happily say he sucks because of the BEAT DOWNS Oregon did against him and his team’s when he was Coach up North and why does a Coach need to negatively try to talk crap about another team and he’s not the only one to do so. Right now though Oregon is on a HIGH in recruiting and the last 10 to 14 recruits who will eventually sign will probably be 4 and maybe a 5 star or two. Oregon has now achieved what a lot of the naysayers have said Oregon was just a flash and then would come back down to normal and this isn’t happening. Just imagine if Oregon actually wins it all as this will also pick up even better recruits. This is hardly the end it’s just the beginning and we as fans should show appreciation a whole lot more in recognizing what the Duck Sports are now giving everyone in Oregon and that’s a TOP 10 program in Football, Track, Womens Softball, Basketball and even Baseball. GO DUCKS and here’s to those players or recruits that didn’t recognize just how great this program was becoming. I pretty much believe they are all starting to realize they are not going anywhere but where they are right now, at the TOP.