Vanderbilt Spring Notes Offensive Spring Goal: Replace Six Starters Back on Defense; Playmakers Rodgers, Stacy Productive Standouts return Several important playmakers will return in 2013 as Vanderbilt coaches look to build on the most impressive two-year offensive run in modern team history. While the Commodores return virtually the entire receiving corps intact and much of an improved offensive line, the staff will use spring drills to closely examine leading candidates for two vacancies sure to impact the 2013 season: quarterback and tailback. This spring, Offensive Coordinator John Donovan and his staff will start the process of Rushing Yards 2012 Total replacing two of the team's most Brian Kimbrow 413 yards, 3 TDs productive playmakers from a Wesley Tate 376 yards, 8 TDs year ago, running back Zac Stacy and quarterback Jordan Rodgers. Receiving Yards 2012 Total Stacy became the most decorated Jordan Matthews 1,323 yards, 8 TDs back in team history, posting Chris Boyd 774 yards, 5 TDs back-to-back 1,000 rushing yards W. Tate 116 yards, 1 TD en route to setting new CommoKris Kentera 98 yards, 2 TDs dore career standards with 3,145 rushing yards and 30 rushing TDs. Rodgers put together one of the best seasons ever by a Vanderbilt senior quarterback, passing for more than 2,500 yards and 15 TDs. Seven offensive starters are back from a 2012 unit that ranked among the most productive offenses in Vanderbilt history. Topping the list of returnees are Biletnikoff Award candidate Jordan Matthews at wide receiver and All-SEC offensive line prospect Wesley Johnson. They are backed by two-year wide receiver starters Chris Boyd and Jonathan Krause, and returning line starters Joe Townsend, Jake Bernstein and Andrew Bridges. Redshirt senior Austyn Carta-Samuels and talented redshirt freshman Patton Robinette will compete with two others for Rodgers' vacancy at quarterback. Carta-Samuels earned one start last year and transferred to Vanderbilt after starting the 2009-10 seasons at the University of Wyoming. Robinette is a former Tennessee prep player of the year who showed talent on the practice field last year. They will compete with spring enrollee Johnny McCrary and versatile sophomore Josh Grady. Two key running backs from Vanderbilt's Music City Bowl squad, redshirt senior Wesley Tate and sophomore Brian Kimbrow, are back to compete for the opening left by Stacy's graduation. Tate rushed for 376 yards and was most effective in short-yardage situations where he produced eight touchdowns. As a freshman, Kimbrow was an explosive threat, averaging 6.3 yards on 66 carries. It could be an important spring for two more running back candidates: redshirt sophomores Jerron Seymour and Derek King. Seymour missed the 2012 season, but posted five rushing touchdowns as a freshman in 2011. King is switching after playing defensive back last year.
Top OFFENSIVE RETURNEES
SiX Commodores at New Positions Six players will appear at new positions when drills start March 15. Versatile redshirt sophomore Josh Grady will see action at quarterback, shifting from wide receiver. Redshirt sophomore Derek King will move from cornerback to running back. A third redshirt sophomore Jacquese Kirk will switch from wide receiver to cornerback. Three redshirt freshmen – Torey Agee, Cory Batey and Adam Butler – are moving: Agee from defensive end to defensive tackle, Batey from receiver to strong safety, and Butler from offensive line to defensive tackle.
Six starters from a year ago are back for spring drills for a Commodore defensive staff that faces the task of replacing four key multi-year starters. The list of 2012 standouts back this spring includes the team's three top tacklers in seniors Kenny Ladler, Chase Garnham and Javon Marshall, defensive co-captain Walker May and All-Southeastern Conference recipient Andre Hal. Total Tackles 2012 Total The defensive staff guided Kenny Ladler, safety 90 by coordinator Bob Shoop will Chase Garnham, LB 84 begin the process of replacing Javon Marshall, safety 83 five seniors that greatly impacted Quarterback Sacks 2012 Total the Music City Bowl unit: interior Chase Garnham, LB 7 tackles Rob Lohr and Colt Nichter, Kyle Woestmann, end 6 end Johnell Thomas, linebacker Caleb Azubike, end 4 Archibald Barnes and cornerTackles for Loss 2012 Total back Trey Wilson. In 2012, Lohr C. Garnham, LB 12.5 provided the defense with 11 Karl Butler, LB 11.5 tackles for loss as a senior, Passes Defended 2012 Total Barnes ranked as the team's Andre Hal, CB 16 fourth leading tackler, Thomas produced his finest season as Forced Fumbles 2012 Total a senior, and Wilson topped the K. Woestmann, Darreon Herring 2 squad with three interceptions. The defensive staff has 21 letterwinners, including the six returning starters, back to combat the graduation losses. Six of the team's top seven tacklers from 2012 – Ladler, Garnham, Marshall, May, Hal and senior linebacker Karl Butler – are returning this spring. Among the other top key contributors expected at spring drills at redshirt junior end Kyle Woestmann and sophomore end Caleb Azubike, the team's No. 2 and No. 3 sack specialists from a year ago.
Top Defensive RETURNEES
Spear, Krause Top specialists; Staff Must Identify next Punter The Vanderbilt corps of specialists includes a record-setting senior placekicker and one of the top punt returners in recent team history. Carey Spear, an All-SEC selection in 2012 after booting a teamrecord 20 field goals, is expected to handle the team's placekicking and kickoff responsibilities. Spear gives the Commodores a strong-legged, accurate kicker who brings tremendous leadership abilities to the special team units. Senior Jonathan Krause became one of the SEC's top return specialists in 2012, averaging 11.2 yards on 25 punt returns. Krause, who took two punts for touchdowns last year, has the second best average of all SEC returners from the 2012 season. The Commodores do need to solve one key uncertainty this spring. For the first time in three years, Vanderbilt is in search of a starting punter following the graduation of Richard Kent, who developed into one of the nation's specialists. Colby Cooke, a highly regarded redshirt freshman, and promising walk-on Taylor Hudson will compete for the role in spring drills. Vanderbilt also returns junior Andrew East, a two-year starting snapper on all conversion and punt units. The team's top kick returners, sophomore Brian Kimbrow and senior Andre Hal, also are back. Both averaged more than 22 yards per return last year.
2013 VANDERBILT SPRING GUIDE
2013 Vanderbilt Football Spring Guide