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July 1, 2011 could go down as a turning point for the Vanderbilt football program.

Four-star Brian Kimbrow is one of the fastest players in America.

It is the day that the Commodores landed commitments from three of the top players in the state of Tennessee - led by the state’s top prospect, four-star Brian Kimbrow.

Kimbrow, the third rated all-purpose running back in the nation, was joined in his commitment to James Franklin and the Commodores by three-star defensive end Caleb Azubike and three-star wide receiver Corey Batey.

“The reason I made that decision is I like to be different,” Kimbrow said on Friday. “I like a challenge. I don’t want anything to be given to me. It’s close to home and it felt like home and it gave me an opportunity to be successful after football.”

Kimbrow, who hails from Memphis (Tenn.) East, has been considered a Vanderbilt lean for some time, but many doubted that such a highly touted prospect would end up at a program that has spent so much time near the bottom of the SEC. Kimbrow is excited about the opportunity though.

“It’s very exciting,” he said. “Most people might say I’m making a bad decision, but I feel like it’s the best decision for me. Coach Franklin told me that he feels like he can put me in a good situation and we can write our own destiny. That’s something that interests a lot of players around here.”

Batey, a Nashville native who helped lead his Ensworth program to a state championship in 2010, has been active in trying to bring elite players to Vanderbilt and hopes to continue that push.

“I kind of came up with the idea we were all in the hotel room and I kind of brought it up and I said ‘What do y’all think about Vandy’,” Batey said. “Everyone was like, ‘I kind of like Vandy,’ and it just took off from there.”

For Batey, it was the perfect fit.

“I mean, I just feel comfortable at Vandy,” he said. “I like the coaches, early playing time, it’s a great environment, I’m from Nashville, it’s in my hometown. Plus I get to go to Vandy with these two guys right here.”

Azubike, another Nashville native, is as athletic as they come on the defensive line and adds to an already stellar group of defenders committed to the Commodores. He chose Vanderbilt over Boston College and Mississippi State.

“I’ve been thinking about committing for a long time,” Azubike said. “I really liked Boston College and Mississippi State - those are great schools. I decided Vandy was better. I still plan on taking visits to see what out there in the fall, but right now Vandy is the best school for me.“

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