The Vanderbilt Commodores suffered a mass exodus of cornerbacks and safeties after former head coach Derek Mason was fired last November.
However, new head coach Clark Lea is slowly rebuilding the Commodores’ secondary, and he added his fourth new member after landing a commitment from three-star safety Steven Sannieniola on Saturday.
He’s the fourth defensive back to commit to the ‘Dores, joining fellow three-stars Caleb Coley, Kenzy Paul and Miguel Mitchell. Sannieniola chose Vanderbilt over offers from Boston College, Duke, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Virginia and West Virginia, among others.
"They recruited me heavily,” Sannieniola told 247Sports. “(Defensive coordinator Jesse) Minter got into the job in January. And a couple of weeks later, I got the call from him, [saying] he wanted me to come to Vanderbilt.
"…I've seen all the things changing with them, all the plans, and I also did my research on coach Lea, and coach Minter as well. Coach Lea is coming from a successful [Notre Dame] program, and [VU is] his alma mater. He is a real good guy and I feel like he can really turn the program around with guys like me."
Sannieniola is the No. 29-ranked player in Maryland and the No. 68-ranked safety in the country according to 247Sports composite rankings. His addition moves Vanderbilt’s 2022 recruiting class up to 29th nationally and 11th in the SEC.
Of the four safeties listed on Vanderbilt’s current roster, three of them graduate after this season — Brendon Harris, Maxwell Worship and Dashaun Jerkins — leaving Sannieniola to compete with junior Justin Harris and sophomore Jack Barton, who is listed as a linebacker/safety, for a starting safety job in 2022.
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