Saturday, November 22, 2008

For Vanderbilt, losing 21 seniors not as bad as it sounds

Today in Nashville, a whopping 21 Vanderbilt seniors will be recognized before the Tennessee game.

Sure, it sounds like a lot. But don't let the number fool you. Half of those are redshirt juniors who wouldn't see much playing time next year — and want to go ahead and graduate and go to medical school or whatever.

Here's a breakdown:

Only two of those players have started in each of the Commodores' 45 games over the last four seasons:
• Safety Reshard Langford, who's started every game of his career (45-45)
• Kicker Bryant Hahnfeldt, who's started every game of his career (45-45)

Another three have started the majority of those 45 games:
• Wide receiver Sean Walker, who's played in 41 games and started 31
• Wide receiver George Smith, who's also played in 41 games and started 31
• Quarterback Chris Nickson, who's played in 36 games and started 25

Another four have been major role players and spot starters:
• Cornerback Jared Fagan, who's played in all 45 games and started three
• Cornerback Josh Allen, who's played in 44 games and started 11
• Running back Jeff Jennings, who's played in 38 games and started 14
• Tight end Jake Bradford (R-Jr.), who's played in 34 games and started two

Another four have seen significant playing time, mostly on special teams:
• Linebacker Chris Johnson (R-Jr.), who's played in 33 games
• Lineman Drew Gardner (R-Jr.), who's played in 26 games
• Fullback Matt Bubis (R-Jr.), who's played in 22 games
• Holder Nick Miller (R-Jr.), who's played in 16 games

Another three seniors have seen limited playing time:
• Receiver Larry Simmons (R-Jr.), who's played in eight games
• Lineman Nick Forte (R-Jr.), who's played in seven games this season and started one
• Lineman Ryan Vance (R-Jr.), who's played in three games
• Holder/kicker Thomas Carroll (R-Jr.), who's played in two games
• Defensive end David Leinweber (R-Jr.), who's played in one game

Another three of those haven't seen playing time while at Vanderbilt:
• Linebacker Bo Baggerley
• Receiver Andrew Diomande, a transfer from Clemson who's been injured
• Defensive back Alex Schultz (R-Jr.)

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