Derek Mason and Vanderbilt made progress on the field in 2015 and the work continues off the field to build a competitive roster.

With that, here are some key questions about the Commodores recruiting efforts for the 2016 cycle.

What is the strength of the class for Vanderbilt?

I think it’s very good in the secondary. Of course, you start with local four-star product JoeJuan Williams from Hendersonville, Tenn. He’s got size, length and athleticism and the coverage ability to be outstanding and to make an early impact. I think Zaire Jones from Meridian (Miss.) has good size and coverage ability and then you look at Frank Coppet from St. Thomas Aquinas, he’s a quick, athletic kid from a great high school program.

Granted, these guys will have to develop, but the potential is there. I also think the three wide receivers — Jackson Winrow, Kalija Lipscomb and Donaven Tennyson — have a chance to form a nice core at that position. All of those guys can run and catch. Individually, I think center Sean Auwae from Kapolei in Hawaii can be special. The 6-foot-4, 290-pounder has NFL size and potential provided he develops.

Who are some sleepers in the class?

Well, most of the class is made up of what we would call sleeper prospects if you are looking at it compared to other classes within the league, but just in terms of a prospect that may come from out of nowhere to an All-SEC level player, linebacker Kenny Herbert (New Orleans, La./Holy Cross) has a chance to be excellent in time.

I like the way he plays on film. He’s very physical and athlete and the type of guy that can thrive at linebacker at Vanderbilt, which is a program that has had its share of very good ones over the years.

Overall, what are your general impressions of this class?

I like the fact that the Commodores have spread out and scoured the country for talent. To use a fishing metaphor, the wider net you cast, the better your chances of piecing together a great catch. There are 12 different states representing among the 19 current verbal commits. That type of national approach — truly national more than regional — provided these are good evaluations and that they can develop these guys within the program, is a solid strategy for building a competitive roster at Vanderbilt.