Football: West Forsyth's Bresnahan commits to Vanderbilt
West Forsyth junior tight end Ben Bresnahan plans to graduate from high school early so he can jump-start his college career. - photo by Micah Green

Vanderbilt has been on Ben Bresnahan’s mind for a long time. Bresnahan’s first visit to the campus in Nashville was for a baseball camp when he was a freshman at West Forsyth, when he wanted to play that sport in college and had his sights set on the Commodores’ powerhouse program.

Bresnahan has switched his college aspirations to football since then, but Vanderbilt has stuck around. The Commodores were one of the many Power Five programs to offer the 6-foot-5, 230-pound tight end, and Bresnahan decided to take an unofficial visit to Nashville on Wednesday to see how the school’s football program felt.

The visit went well enough for Bresnahan to speed up his schedule and verbally commit to the Commodores, making him the first Forsyth County player in the class of 2018 to commit to a Football Bowl Subdivision school.

“I really wasn’t even planning on committing when I went up there,” Bresnahan said. “(It was) really eye-opening, seeing that I could definitely fit here and love it here.”

Bresnahan was attracted to Vanderbilt’s sterling academic reputation and the progress the football team has made under head coach Derek Mason, who led the Commodores to a 6-6 regular season record and a bowl berth after winning three games in 2014 and four in 2015.

It was the strong fit he felt with the coaches and players, though, that sealed the decision for Bresnahan.

“It was really the people who put it over the top for me,” he said.

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- photo by Michael Chung
Bresnahan is rated as a three-star recruit and the 32nd-best tight end in the country by 247sports.com. He also holds offers from schools like Michigan, Georgia and Tennessee. Bresnahan was planning to make a commitment by the time West’s season started, but when he saw a few other tight ends commit and considered that he’d already narrowed down his options, he decided to make his decision a bit sooner.

This upcoming season will be the Wolverines’ first under head coach Shawn Cahill, and Bresnahan is set to play a large role as both a blocker and receiver. He also plans to graduate early and be at Vanderbilt in time for spring practice, and he’s taking a summer class to fulfill some of his last requirements.

But with one of the biggest decisions of his life out of the way, Bresnahan can put all his focus into passing that class and getting ready for the fall.

“(It’s) definitely a stress relief,” Bresnahan said. “It’s great that I know where I’m going now.”