Surprise! Vandy steals RB/DB from Minnesota

<B>Daniel Dufrene</b>, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound cornerback/running back from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Stranahan who committed to Minnesota in December, has decided to sign with Vanderbilt on signing day.

Daniel Dufrene, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound cornerback/running back from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Stranahan who committed to Minnesota in December, has decided to sign with Vanderbilt on signing day. He visited Iowa State after his trip to Minnesota, but decided to sign with the Commodores, where he took his first visit.

Minnesota had planned to play him as a defensive back, but his desire to play on the offensive end caused him to look at other schools.

Dufrene, who had visited Vanderbilt officially in December, had made a non-binding verbal commitment to Minnesota a week later and was originally expected to sign with the Gophers. But that commitment softened just a bit when he later took a visit to Iowa State. He had offers from all three schools, as well as Kansas State.

Dufrene was named first-team All-Broward County (Classes 4A-6A) as a running back as a senior, as well as Honorable Mention All-State in Class 5A. "Great speed makes him a strong runner," reads his scouting report, "and good hands make him a threat as a receiver out of the backfield." Dufrene, had 1,200 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns last season, is expected to play tailback with the Commodores.

For Vanderbilt the commitment addresses a crucial need; the Commodores are down to two tailbacks this spring after the graduation of Norval McKenzie and the death of Kwane Doster. Another high school running back, Jared Hawkins of Klein, Tex., was expected to be one of Vandy's Wednesday signees.

Chris Monter contributed to this report.

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