Grayson's Strong commits to Vandy football

Vanderbilt head football coach Bobby Johnson kept his Gwinnett County pipeline going with a commitment from Grayson linebacker Tristan Strong over the weekend.

A speedy junior, Strong had scholarship offers from the Commodores and Auburn as well as Connecticut. But on a visit to Nashville this past Saturday, he decided to commit to Vanderbilt, the first school to offer him.

He said schools like Georgia Tech, Purdue and Ole Miss also have been in contact regularly, but he feels confident in his decision of Vandy. Johnson even made a special visit this season to watch Strong play in a basketball game.

"I went up there this weekend and had a great time," said Strong, who has a 3.8 GPA and is considering a career in physical therapy. "The coaching staff and everything up there was great. It just seemed like the ultimate choice.

"Just the atmosphere up there was great. The coaching staff was great. And it's a top-notch education."

Vanderbilt has recruited Gwinnett regularly in recent years, signing Parkview's Greg Billinger and Duluth's Kennard Reeves in 2006 and signing Collins Hill's T.J. Greenstone earlier this year.

As a junior, Strong was a leader on a stingy Grayson defense that allowed just 11.1 points per game. He finished with 51 tackles and seven sacks as the Rams reached the second round of the state playoffs before losing a heartbreaker to Norcross.

"Tristan has a lot of athletic qualities," Grayson head coach Mickey Conn said. "He's 6-3, about 220 and he's going to put on more weight. He'll be playing outside linebacker for them and he's got good speed. I think he's a pretty big recruit for them."