Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason is the overwhelming leading candidate to be named Vanderbilt coach, perhaps as early as Friday, according to a source.

Mason, 44, met with Vanderbilt officials on Thursday and was scheduled to meet with them again Friday. He is known for excellence in defending spread defenses in the Pac-12 and also is known as a good recruiter with a likable personality -- two traits held by former Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, now at Penn State.

Mason has been at Stanford for four years as defensive backs coach, associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator.

If hired, Mason would be the fifth African-American head coach in SEC history, joining Franklin, Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M) and former coaches Sylvester Croom (Mississippi State) and Joker Phillips (Kentucky).

St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and Vanderbilt offensive line coach Herb Hand had also been mentioned as possible candidates for the Commodores' job, sources told Schad and ESPN's Adam Schefter.