Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vanderbilt nominates 11 players for all-SEC team

Vanderbilt has submitted these names to the SEC for post-season honors:

• Jared Hawkins, Jr., running back
• Thomas Welch, Jr., offensive tackle
• Greg Billinger, Jr., defensive tackle
• Broderick Stewart, Jr., defensive end
• Patrick Benoist, Jr., outside linebacker
• Ryan Hamilton, Jr., free safety
• Reshard Langford, Sr., strong safety
• Myron Lewis, Jr., cornerback
• D.J. Moore, Jr., cornerback and return specialist (2 positions)
• Bryant Hahnfeldt, Sr., placekicker
• Brett Upson, Jr., punter

Nine of the Vanderbilt 11 are juniors and two are seniors. And if you look at the roster, these really have been our best and most consistent players, outside of freshman linebacker Chris Marve, who could have earned a nod as well.

Bobby Johnson is about as self-aware and self-effacing as a coach can get, and I applaud him for only nominating two players from his struggling offense. Meanwhile, Tennessee and Auburn each nominated five players from their woeful offenses.

More fittingly, Florida, Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss each nominated seven offensive players. Those are among the top five teams in total yards and points. Mark Richt's Georgia team leads the SEC in total yards, but he held his offensive nominations to five. Craziest pick: LSU QB Jarrett Lee. The kid leads the world in interceptions returned for touchdowns this season with seven and was clearly his team's weak link against Alabama, yet Les Miles puts Lee's name on the ballot.

Miles picked eight players off his defense, which gave up a whopping 31 last week to Troy. Vanderbilt, Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama and Auburn each nominated seven. Tennessee went with six. Tough defenses, all. Ole Miss's Houston Nutt knew his team's weakness and limited his defensive nominations to three.

There's a separate all-freshman team, and Vanderbilt submitted five names:
• Brandon Barden, tight end
• Kyle Fischer, offensive lineman
• Jamie Graham, wide receiver
• T.J. Greenstone, defensive tackle
• Chris Marve, linebacker (of course)

Arkansas, which lost a ton of talent to graduation, nominated a whopping 12 freshmen. Kentucky and Alabama each nominated nine. That's just one of the remarkable things about this Crimson Tide team: Saban recruits top freshman and instead of redshirting them he plays nine of them enough to be nominated for post-season honors. (Of course, you'd be a fool not to play Julio Jones, who was also nominated for the big boy team.)


Anonymous said...

Excellent analysis. Just found your blog as I googled bowl projections for Vandy. Keep up the good work. (Class of 79 alum hoping for a Peach Bowl Vandy matchup)


Welcome. We'll be going strong here at least through the bowl game, so keep coming back.