Vanderbilt commit Cole Spence back from injury and focused on senior year at Mount Pisgah

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Mount Pisgah head coach Ryan Livezey sat down a couple of years ago to talk with Cole Spence’s parents.

At the time, Livezey was the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, and Spence was just an unrecruited sophomore. But Livezey had seen enough. He knew Mount Pisgah had a gem on its hands in the young tight end.

He told Spence’s parents their son had the ability to play college football. Which level and what school he could play at depended on how he continued to develop.

Spence developed well. He developed into one of the most sought-after tight ends in the state.

“He took that to heart and worked like a mad man outside of football season,” Livezey said. “He put in so much work outside of school to make himself into a better player.”

Following a breakout junior season in which he caught 42 passes for 466 yards, calls from college coaches came in droves for Spence. Over 20 teams offered him a spot in the four months after the 2020 season.

One of the final schools to enter the mix was Vanderbilt in early March. A few weeks later, Spence gave his pledge to the Commodores.

“My dream’s always been to play in the NFL, so that’s really what I’ve always been working towards,” Spence said. “Having all those schools talk to me was a huge honor that they placed that belief in me. It was really cool. It was a lot of phone calls. I’m so grateful for everyone who spent their time talking to me. They invest a whole bunch of time, even if they might not get you.”

At 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, Spence certainly fits the bill for a Division I tight end, and his game matches his imposing frame. He catches passes like a receiver and blocks defenders like a lineman, and he excels at both. 

Spence loves pancakes, and not the type you cut up and soak in maple syrup. Besides scoring a touchdown, he said his favorite play in football is blocking a defender into the turf.

“The thing about Cole is that as good of a receiver he is, he’s a great blocker,” said Livezey, now in his first year as Mount Pisgah’s head coach. “That in and of itself is such a weapon. I think that’s what’s neat, how much he takes pride in not just catching the ball but blocking for other people. That shows a lot of unselfishness.”

Spence missed the Patriots’ first two games of the season while he finished recovering from a knee injury he suffered in the spring. He returned in Week 3 and looked good as new, reeling in seven catches for 94 yards and a touchdown in Mount Pisgah’s 41-12 win at Walker. 

In Mount Pisgah’s most recent game — a 43-22 loss to Hebron Christian — Spence caught three passes for 78 yards, including a 41-yard bomb on the first play of the night.

He also plays defensive end for the Patriots, though he has yet to line up on defense this season.

“It feels good to be back,” Spence said. “I can’t wait to get back to playing both ways, assuming the coaches let me do that.”

Off the field, Spence is an Eagle Scout with a 4.0 GPA and a highest score of 34 on the ACT. 

“He’s what you want on your team as a football coach,” Livezey said. “He’s a great leader. l told the Vanderbilt coaches I think the sky’s the limit for Cole, whether it’s as a receiver or if they bulk him up to be a blocker. He’s got a ton of talent and the work ethic to go with it.”

Spence might not be able to officially sign to Vanderbilt until December, but he said he’s locked in to playing for the Commodores. 

“(My recruitment’s) shut down,” Spence said. “I’m ready.”

With his recruitment behind him, Spence said he’s focused first and foremost on his senior season. Once he graduates in May, he’ll get to work on his college football career.

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