By Barca Blog - When Vanderbilt's preseason camp starts Friday, one of the biggest position battles will be at wide receiver.
Several younger Commodore prospects will have the opportunity to make an impact after the squad lost two key receivers to graduation (Sean Walker and George Smith) and one to injury (Justin Wheeler).
One person to keep an eye on is redshirt freshman John Cole, who emerged as one of the possible starters coming out of spring practice.
"He's got some tools," head coach Bobby Johnson told the 104.5 Wake Up Zone. "He's use to catching a lot of footballs and he knows what to do when he gets it."
Last year, Cole showed plenty of promise. Displaying excellent speed and solid hands, Cole earned a role on the field during the season opener at Miami (Ohio) to become one of three true freshmen to play in 2008. Unfortunately, his season was cut short after suffering a knee injury in the third quarter of that game.
Cole enters camp off a tremendous offseason conditioning effort, having spent the entire summer on campus working out with teammates.
"John is looking great right now," the head coach added. "Not only has he rehabbed, but he's gained weight and worked really hard on weightlifting. His body has changed since last year. I expect John to be a big contributor to the wide receiver corps."