Indy's Gaulden earns MVP at Vandy camp
By Marcus Stone, Sports Editor
Independence High School rising senior Rashaan Gaulden was awarded the team Most Valuable Player award July 13 as his team finished runners up at the Music City Classic 7-on-7 Passing Tournament at Vanderbilt University. Indy fell to Hillsboro 21-8 in the championship game on Dudley Field.
“This young man caught every ball that was thrown to him, busted his tail on defense, and exhibited a lot of leadership,” said Michael Hazel, director of football operations for the Commodores. “He was tired but was hustling all day.”
Gaulden is a 6-foot-1, 175-pound defensive back / wide receiver prospect who ranks as a four-star player according to Rivals.com. He currently has 12 offers from colleges, including Vanderbilt and Tennessee.
In a moment of humor, Vandy head coach James Franklin recognized Gaulden’s teammate, University of Tennessee commit Vic Wharton, after the presentation.
“I’m going to admit it,” he said. “We could have gave this easily to Vic, but I’m a hater so we’re not giving it to him.”
Independence was impressive throughout the tournament, defeating two-time champion Kenton (Ohio) while only losing two matches in pool play. Their play earned them a No. 3 seed in the single elimination tournament where they defeated Kenton B, Clarksville Northeast, Madison-Ridgeland (MS), and Ravenwood.
Ravenwood was a surprise team the second half of the event. After a 1-5 record on day one, the Raptors surged to a Final Four appearance on Saturday before ultimately being edged by the Eagles. They entered the single-elimination portion of the event as the No. 15 seed.
Brentwood Academy reached the quarterfinals before being knocked out by No. 1 Kenton A. The No. 9 seed Eagles advanced with wins over East Nashville and Dekalb County.
Page (No. 17) and Fairview (No. 26) both fell in the opening round. The Patriots lost in a close battle with Gibson Southern (IN) while the Yellow Jackets lost to Montgomery Bell Academy.
The two-day event consisted of 30 schools representing nine states – Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois.
Five individuals from the county were recognized after pool play in an awards ceremony as outstanding players. Of 20 winners, those from Williamson County were Brentwood Academy’s C.J. Sanders and Derek Barnett, Fairview’s Garrett Wall, Page’s Zak Mizell, and Ravenwood’s Van Jefferson.
Independence was awarded the Commodore Award, which is given to the team that best represents “work hard and play with a positive attitude”.
Franklin made himself visible throughout the weekend and could be seen observing multiple games involving Williamson County teams.
“It’s great for me to be out here and get my juices flowing,” he said in the championship trophy presentation. “Watching you guys fly around, watching the communities and parents, friends, and families get into what’s going on – this is awesome.”
Posted on: 7/16/2013