Sabino High lineman Andrew Mike was scheduled to go on an official visit to Vanderbilt University this past weekend and see what it would be like to play football for the Commodores.
While Mike ended up ill and didn’t get to make the trip to Nashville, Tenn., he’ll now have the next four years or more to find out.
Mike, a 6-foot-7-inch 285-pound tackle, verbally committed to Vanderbilt on Monday afternoon in front of his family and teammates in the Sabino weight room.
“I’d been there during the summer so it’s not like I hadn’t been there at all,” said Mike, who plans to enroll in summer classes at Vanderbilt. “I’ve also known coach Derek Mason since my sophomore year and I felt like it was the place that fit me best academically and for football.”
Mike, a three-year starter for the Sabercats, picked the Commodores over Arkansas, Florida and Penn State. In all, he had 16 offers including one from Arizona. He is the seventh local player to verbally commit to a Division I FBS school this year and second from Sabino, along with Matt Bushman who pledged to BYU in October. Both plan to sign their letters of intent on Wednesday for national signing day.
Following Mike’s announcement, Sabino coach Jay Campos asked his players gathered around their soon-to-be former teammate how many thought he was going to Vanderbilt and just a few raised their hands.
Most thought he was heading to Arkansas, which made a late recruiting push for Mike along with Florida.
Even if he had picked either the Razorbacks or the Gators, he still would have ended up being the first Sabino football player to continue on to the SEC.
“Those guys aren’t stupid in how they recruit,” said Campos, who considers Mike the top offensive lineman he’s had in his 11 seasons with the Sabercats.
“He had three SEC offers, so obviously they think he can play at that level. I’m looking to see how well he does there against the best of college football anywhere.”
Mike said his top pick had always been Vanderbilt for the most part, but things got a little shaken up when coach James Franklin moved to Penn State.
That’s when Florida and Arkansas came into the picture — he took official visits to both schools within the last two weeks.
Franklin and the Nittany Lions also tried to reel in Mike and he considered Penn State, but still felt Vanderbilt was his best choice, even with the coaching change.
Mike is confident in playing for Mason, an Arizona native who spent the last four seasons as an assistant at Stanford and was named Vanderbilt’s new coach last month.
“He’s implementing a lot of the things they had there and that will help,” Mike said. “It’ll be awesome to play against the best and compete against the best and show them what I got.”