"To share an opinion now is irresponsible" - Vanderbilt HC Clark Lea concisely cuts through roster cap confusion

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Tennessee
Clark Lea concisely cuts through roster cap confusion

Vanderbilt Head Coach Clark Lea has concisely addressed potential roster caps in college football. He highlighted the importance of careful consideration and thorough discussion.

This topic has sparked heated debates among coaches and administrators, especially as the SEC Spring Meetings convene in Destin, Florida. It has brought together the conference’s top leaders to discuss its future.

During the Southeastern Conference Spring Meetings in Destin, Florida, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey urged coaches to exercise caution.

“I’ve not talked to our coaches about that other than individually to say hey, slow down guys,” Sankey said.

He emphasized the need for thoughtful consideration and warned against hastily formed opinions:

“I think it’s a bit of a threat, a danger that we can’t have a conversation about concepts that don’t populate themselves outside the room.”

Lea, leveraging his extensive background in playing and coaching football, stressed:

“What I’ve heard is that everything I’ve heard is not to be trusted....To share an opinion now is irresponsible.”

The scholarship limit for college football is 85, but most rosters contain around 120 or more players, including walk-ons. However, The House v. NCAA settlement proposes a shift from scholarship limits to overall roster caps, which could significantly impact various sports.

For instance, in baseball, where rosters are larger and scholarships are often partial, schools with substantial financial resources and NIL collectives might gain an advantage.

Clark Lea discussed Vanderbilt's transfer portal and roster depth

Since the end of the 2023 season, Vanderbilt has added 17 players to strengthen its roster for the upcoming SEC season. Coach Clark Lea outlined his summer strategy, emphasizing depth and offensive skill positions.

“We’re addressing what we feel like is depth concern in the front end. There will be some addition of offensive skill (positions), too, which will be important,” Lea told On3.

Post-spring, Vanderbilt added three players. They are former LSU and Memphis athlete Maurice Hampton for the secondary, tight end Emmanuel Adebi and wide receiver Dariyan Wiley. Lea noted the value of experience in these transfers:

“When you go into the portal, what you’re recruiting are people that have already played ... so you know more about the guys that you’re bringing in.”
“And so in that sense, if we do a good job on the front end, you’re leaning on snap experience and kind of college film to guide you on who can best impact the areas that we need to have impacted.”

Lea acknowledged the challenge of integrating new players by August but expressed confidence in his team’s chemistry and readiness:

“We feel like we’ve covered some ground ... we’re not done changing.”

Vanderbilt will kick off its 2024 season against Virginia Tech on Aug. 31. Lea's tenure at Vanderbilt shows a head coaching record of 9–27 overall and 2–22 in the SEC.

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