Tight end was a major need coming into the 2013 recruiting cycle for Vanderbilt. After this weekend, that need has been definitively addressed. After landing a commitment on Saturday from junior college tight end Brandon Vandenburg, Vanderbilt picked up a commitment on Monday from Parker (Colo.) Chaparral tight end Mitch Parsons.
Parsons competed in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.
Parsons confirmed the news on twitter on Monday afternoon:
“Just gave my commitment to play football for Coach Franklin and the Vanderbilt Commodores next year #anchordown #godores”
Later in the day, Parsons talked with Vandy247 about his commitment while seeing the sights of Broadway in downtown Nashville. Most important to Parsons was the education.
"Really the education is a big thing for me," he said. "I consider myself a good student. I like school which is weird to say but I like school. That part is huge. To have the opportunity to come to school here [for free] and play the sport I love, that was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up on.
"Then there's the coaching staff. All the guys up there are genuinely nice guys. I enjoyed spending time with all of them. I enjoyed talking to them. All the commits that at are there were in my ear all weekend were great."
Parsons is a 6-4, 235-pound prospect that could develop into a major pass-catching threat for Vanderbilt in his career. The three-star caught 35 passes for 634 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior and followed that up with 45 catches for 754 yards and seven more touchdowns as a senior. Even with that resume, Parsons was on edge after the commitment of elite junior college tight end Vandenburg - the second tight end committed to Vandy alongside Nathan Marcus.
"I was actually very worried about that," he said. "I didn’t know where it put me so I texted my dadaand I said this might turn into a glorified vacation."
On Monday, Parsons finally got some clarification as to what that commitment meant for his opportunity when Coach James Franklin made a strong pitch for him to join the program. Parsons didn't hesitate to jump on board.
"I said 'do I have a spot?' Coach Franklin said I did so I told him that I wanted to give my commitment to Vanderbilt," Parsons explained. "He said 'I don't care if the Denver Broncos come calling, by shaking my hand we're married'."
With that, Parsons ended his recruitment and confirmed his commitment to the Commodores. The Colorado native had been hesitant to leave the west coast early on in the recruiting process but after visiting Vanderbilt, he lost any doubt that Nashville is the town for him.
"I love it," he said of the south. "I had never been to the south so I kind of judged a book by its cover and wrote them of without giving them a chance. Playing here in front of all these people I’m excited to be able to play and be able to beat teams like Alabama at their house in front of 70,000 people. I’m excited to be able to play in front of big crowds and be able to teams that we gonna start beating here."
With his commitment locked up, Parsons has high expectations for himself and the Vanderbilt program.
"I'm excited," he said. "I plan on winning National Championships here and SEC Championships and a Mackey Award."
With Parsons' commitment, Vanderbilt currently has 23 verbal pledges for the class of 2013 with just over two weeks before National Signing Day.