Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thank you, Ryan Hamilton — oh, and can anybody take your place?

Dang it. I just read in the Tennessean that safety Ryan Hamilton has been denied a sixth year of eligibility by those bureaucratic killjoys in the NCAA.

If you're allowing yourself to remember anything from last season, you may remember that Ryan Hamilton tore his pectoral muscle midway through the LSU game in Baton Rouge and PLAYED THE REST OF THE GAME WITH HIS PECTORAL TORN OFF THE BONE.

I still can't believe it. Just like I still can't believe the game Hamilton had against Ole Miss in 2008 when he intercepted four passes, had a length-of-the-field pick six, recovered two fumbles and capped a Commodore goal line stand when he blitzed, dove and tripped the Rebel ball carrier.

Of course, Ole Miss upset No. 1 Florida in Gainesville the next week and went on to a 10-win season and a Cotton Bowl victory.

And Ryan was one of the unsung heroes as Vanderbilt won its first bowl game since the Eisenhower administration.

Thanks, Ryan. You gave us everything you had, and we'll miss you.

So who'll take his place at safety alongside Sean Richardson? The serviceable Joel Caldwell is graduating, and a whole bunch of people will be battling for the job.

Jay Fullam, the redshirt freshman who would have surely played last season if he hadn't injured his hand as the season was starting, may be the favorite. Remember, Ryan Hamilton was a fixture at safety from the beginning of his second freshman year. Javon Marshall is another redshirt freshman who was recruited as a safety.

Redshirt sophomores Al Owens and Micah Powell were special teams/utility guys who provide depth but may not be the permanent answer.

The emergence last season of true freshmen Eddie Foster and Trey Wilson as solid cornerbacks could allow big athletic corners Jamie Graham (R-JR) and Eric Samuels (SO) to drop back to safety. At one time or another, both those guys were listed as backup safeties on last season's depth charts.

And then there are the verbal commitments who will be true freshmen: Kenneth Ladler, Sherrod Golightly and Andre Simmons. Another recruit, Chase Garnham, is listed as an outside linebacker but played safety as a junior in high school and certainly has the wheels to be in the secondary.


Anonymous said...

The NCAA actually doesn't decide who gets medical redshirts, but it is actually the conference, so in this case the SEC.


The Tennessean is reporting that the request was denied by the NCAA, and Bobby Johnson said in September that he was making the request to the NCAA. Why would conferences, which are in competition against other conferences, be in the business of accepting and rejecting medical redshirts?

Anonymous said...

I understand where your coming from on why the conference would decide, but that's how it is. Here an excerpt:

"A medical hardship is a form of relief that a university’s student-athlete will receive after a university’s application to the conference only if:"

The application goes to the conference