Derek Mason was satisfied and sure of himself as he stood on a stage in the corner of Vanderbilt’s new indoor facility and spoke to a crowd of nearly 1,000 fans on Wednesday night.

Then he talked some smack while being introduced at halftime of the Vanderbilt-Tennessee basketball game. “For the upside-down T, we’ll see you, too,” he declared.

Given the work Mason and his recently assembled staff did to salvage a depleted recruiting class in the last week, he had cause to be in good spirits.

Mason, named the Commodores’ football coach 19 days ago, capped off his first signing class by landing 22 recruits.

Capitol Christian (Sacramento, Calif.) defensive end Nifae Lealao chose Vanderbilt over California and Stanford on Wednesday to complete a class that had just nine commitments on Sunday morning. An ex-Stanford commitment, the 6-foot-6, 280-pound Lealao had placed four hats on a table — none of them Vanderbilt — but pulled a Commodores hat out from under the table as he made his announcement.

Getting him to Nashville wasn’t easy, said Mason, who recruited Lealao while he was defensive coordinator at Stanford. Lealao decommitted from Stanford several days after Mason got the Vanderbilt job.

“We had spent time with Nifae,” Mason added. “We had a chance to go see him play basketball as of last week.

“He spoke with his dad. His dad got him on a plane on a Friday. Actually, Nifae was a little reluctant because it’s so far away from home, and he’s a family guy. (He) came here and really was a little distant, to say the least. I think by the end of the first night, within 24 hours of being here and having had a chance to spend time with the recruits here, he felt at home.”

CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming referred to Lealao as “the best defensive lineman in the West” in the 2014 class.

“He’s is a unique player coming off the ball with long arms, aggressive feet and a tough style,” Lemming said. “He’s an impact player.”

Vanderbilt added two more previously undeclared recruits on Wednesday: defensive end Sekou Clark (Denton, Texas) and wide receiver Ladarius Wiley (Los Angeles). Clark also considered Texas State, Louisiana-Monroe and Boise State. Wiley, a former Purdue commitment, also considered Boise State.

The Commodores were 46th in the team recruiting rankings on Wednesday night by, up 35 spots from Tuesday. ranked Mason’s class 50th. Vanderbilt was listed in the 90s by both recruiting services before landing six public commitments on Sunday.

“This class was assembled a while ago, and then obviously we know about the change in staff and what happens there,” Mason said. “But a credit to the anchor part of this recruiting class for what they did in sticking with the process and understanding what it is that Vanderbilt football is.”

If not for former coach James Franklin leaving and persuading five Vanderbilt commitments to sign with Penn State, the class would have been better.

But if not for Mason and his staff finding a way to secure 13 commitments in the final four days, it would have been far worse.

Even with the one-day flirtation of Tucson, Ariz., offensive lineman Andrew Mike, who committed to Vanderbilt on Monday and then flipped to Florida on Tuesday, Mason still made up a lot of ground.

Mason said his staff “stayed the course” in order to close strong despite Franklin trying to lure recruits away.

“It’s like any two-minute drill,” he said. “You’re going to have some pushback. We didn’t flinch.”