Among one of the more notable hires that Derek Mason made after taking over and Vanderbilt was Brett Maxie. Mason didn't have to look far to snatch Maxie up, as he just wrapped up two seasons in Vandy's backyard with the Tennessee Titans under Mike Munchak before the staff was let go.
In Maxie, Mason added a coach with 16 years of NFL experience (and 13 years of playing experience after going undrafted. Coach Maxie quickly found out that one of the perks of being a former NFL coach and player now coaching in the college ranks is that you tend to have the undivided attention of college-aged kids because you have first hand experience on the level that they all aspire to.
"At the college level these kids are probably going to hang on to every word that you say because they feel like, especially in my case, that I have a little bit extra to offer because I have been at the NFL level. In so many ways, they feel like I've got the blueprint to get them there."
"When I talk to every last one of my players, that's what I tell them, 'If you have an aspiration to play at the next level, I'll do everything in my power to make that happen. Obviously I am only going to affect a small part of that, you're going to have to do the bulk of the work...but I'll give you the keys to the car.'"
Add that kind of experience with the rest of the accolades that the remainder of Mason's defensive staff has, plus the academic standing of Vanderbilt, and you've got one hell of a recruiting pitch for some of the most talented players in the country.
The keys that Maxie is flipping to his secondary, plus the keys that a Vanderbilt degree give them work out to be about the equivalent of a brand new Rolls-Royce (at least). What could possibly be better?