Football program adds talented trio to roster
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Vanderbilt football program expanded its 2019 signing class Wednesday, announcing the addition of three student-athletes who will continue their academic and athletic careers on West End.
Brayden Bapst, an offensive line prospect from St. John’s College High School in Washington D.C., and Lashawn Paulino-Bell, an outside linebacker from East Mississippi Community College and St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, signed a National Letter of Intent.
A third newcomer, Ball State graduate transfer quarterback Riley Neal of Yorktown (Ind.) High School, also was announced. Neal has been enrolled in graduate classes at Vanderbilt since early January.
Bapst was a standout tight end for St. John’s College. As a senior, he helped the Cadets to a 9-1 record and top-25 ranking in USA Today’s national prep poll.
Paulino-Bell was a productive defender at East Mississippi C.C., which ended the season with national and state titles following a 12-0 campaign. Paulino-Bell registered 5.5 quarterback sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss among 29 total tackles in 2018.
At Ball State, Neal was a three-year starter at quarterback, compiling 7,393 passing yards, 46 touchdown passes and 8,756 total yards. He completed 194-of-335 passes for 1,917 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2018.
Bapst, Paulino-Bell and Neal join 19 prospects who committed to the Commodores during the early signing period last December. Vanderbilt’s 2019 class now features incoming student-athletes from 10 different states that fill 12 different positions across the roster. The class includes 11 offensive players, 10 defensive players and one special teams member.
The Commodores, coming off an appearance in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl in Houston, are scheduled to open spring drills on Feb. 27. The team’s featured Black and Gold Spring Game is March 30 at Vanderbilt Stadium.