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Vandy's Woods to be a graduate transfer

Posted by Russell on December 28, 2016 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Vanderbilt redshirt junior TE DeAndre Woods announced via Twitter that he will graduate and transfer to another program for next season. Woods has struggled with injuries throughout his career and appeared in just one game this season. The six-foot-three Birmingham native finishes his Commodore career with seven receptions for 127 yards in 12 games played.

This season has been a blessing and having the opportunity to be apart of that blessing is amazing and I will cherish that brother hood!! pic.twitter.com/DITVxmpzH8

— DeAndre Woods (@FlyboyWoods) December 27, 2016

 

Woods showed promise early in the 2015 season before tearing his ACL in the Austin Peay game on September 19. He had 57 yards receiving against Georgia one week earlier, and had a 45-yard catch against the Governors before suffering the knee injury. 

He will graduate from Vanderbilt in May with a degree in Communications. Because he has completed his undergraduate work, Woods will be free to transfer to any FBS or FCS program and will be eligible immediately. It is unclear if Woods will have one or two years of eligibility remaining, and that may depend on whether or not he receives a medical redshirt for this season. 

It is likely that Woods will transfer to a smaller program in order to get more significant playing time. The Commodores roster currently lists eight tight ends, although the graduation of Sean Dowling and the transfer of Woods will bring that number to six. Jared Pinkney, Sam Dobbs, and Nathan Marcus will anchor Vanderbilt's tight end group next season, while Kyle Anderton, Turner Cockrell, and Cody Markel will look to crack into the rotation. 


DeAndre Woods, pictured here in 2015 against Austin Peay, will graduate from Vandy and transfer to another program.

Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt University Athletics.

Webb will return for senior year in Nashville

Posted by Russell on December 28, 2016 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

In what was a highly dissapointing Monday night for Commodores fans, Ralph Webb's immediate announcement that he will return to Vanderbilt for his senior year is great news for the 2017 team. The news followed the team's awful performance in the Camping World Independence Bowl, where they fell to NC State, 41-17.


"I gave it a lot of thought and talked to my family and my coaches," said Webb during the postgame press conference. "I will be coming back to play next year as a Vanderbilt Commodore."


Webb has high expectations for himself and the Commodores in 2017. The Gainesville, Florida native had his best statistical season in 2016, rushing for 1,283 yards and 13 touchdowns on 250 carries, He broke Vanderbilt's all-time rushing record and also the team's single-season rushing record.


"We want a bowl game and to double the wins," Webb declared. "We're not playing just to get six wins and barely go to a bowl game. As a leader on this offense, I'm going to make sure we do that."


Webb has now rushed for 3,342 yards and 22 career touchdowns. Although his production has improved each season, Webb is not viewed as an elite NFL talent. He projects as more of a mid-to-late round prospect. Because of this year's saturated running back draft class, it makes a lot of sense for Webb to return. If he can have another solid season next year and test well at pro day and the NFL Combine, Webb will likely see more NFL opportunities come his way. 


Another factor that may have kept Webb around is that he has been bothered by an ankle injury that has affected his production in some games. Webb rushed for less that 50 yards against both Auburn and Missouri, but recovered for strong performances in the final three games, in which he rushed for 348 yards and six touchdowns against Ole Miss, Tennessee, and NC State.


If Webb can remain healthy next season, this decision appears to be positive for both Webb and Vanderbilt. The Commodore offense will greatly benefit from having an experienced threat like Webb. Add in Khari Blasingame and the Commodores have a two-headed monster at the running back position. The linebacker turned running back was terrific in short-yardage situations and finished the season with 449 yards and 10 touchdowns. 


With Webb and Blasingame in the backfield, the Commodores will have a strong rushing attack. The big question that remains is if QB Kyle Shumur and the team's aerial attack can be successful as well. 

Ralph Webb announced that he will return to Vanderbilt for his senior year. Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt University Athletics.

John Norwood signs FA deal with Marlins

Posted by Russell on August 2, 2014 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Vanderbilt's College World Series home run hero John Norwood has played his last game as a Commodore. After winning the CWS and tearing it up in the Cape Cod Summer League, Norwood has signed a free agent contract with the Miami Marlins. The news was first reported by Matt Schneidman, who is the beat writer for Norwood's summer team, the Cotuit Kettleers. Norwood was hitting .324 in 18 games during his stint with the Keetleers.

 

This may seem like a late signing, as it does come after the MLB Draft signing deadline. However, it is a legal signing as Norwood was passed over by all 32 teams in June's draft, making him a free agent. The MLB First Year Player Draft Rules state:

 

"A player who is eligible to be selected and is passed over by every Club becomes a free agent and may sign with any Club until the player enters, or returns to, a four-year college full-time or enters, or returns to, a junior college."

 

Because school has not yet started, Norwood is completely eligible make this type of move. Teams likely shied away from Norwood during the draft due to his lack of college production (Norwood struggled early in the 2014) and the fact that he had turned down a massive signing bonus from the Toronto Blue Jays out of high school. After his stellar postseason and outstanding performance during his Cape Cod stint, Norwood's stock skyrocketed.

 

While a massive loss for Vanderbilt, this decision makes sense from Norwood's perspective. Being a free agent, he was able to pick the right team and right situation for himself. Also, Norwood had leverage when it came to negotiating the contract. He could have easily returned for his senior season and just wait to get drafted next summer. Norwood likely received a significant signing bonus because of this, a rarity for undrafted free agents in baseball.

 

Norwood has reported to the Bataiva Muckdogs of the NYPL. Norwood went 1 for 3 with a single in his debut on August 6th.

UPDATE: Norwood's signing bonus was very large, as predicted. He received $275,000 from the Marlins, which is equivalent to what an early 6th round draft pick received for a slot value bonus.



Rod Odom gets his NBA shot

Posted by Russell on June 29, 2014 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Former Commodore power forward Rod Odom will get to live out his NBA dream with with a former teammate.  Odom will join the Golden State Warriors for their NBA Summer League campaign. Former Vandy teammate Festus Ezeli will also particpate, having missed last season with a knee injury.  The team's first game will be played against the Charlotte Hornets in Las Vegas on July 11th.


Odom will be a long shot to make the team, but his stellar college career and shooting ability will be enough to get a few looks from team officials.  Odom scored 985 points in 134 games in a Vanderbilt uniform, good for an average of 7.35 points per game.  Odom was stellar from three point land, nailing nearly 39 percent of shots from beyond the arc. Odom's invitation to the Warriors summer league continues the pipeline from West End to Oakland. Ezeli was drafted by the Warriors in 2012, and Lance Goulbourne was a free agent signee of the team in the same year.


Rod Odom will join the Golden State Warrios for the NBA Summer League. Photo form Rushthecourt.com

Vandy's Harvey to sign FA deal with Pirates

Posted by Russell on June 29, 2014 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Vanderbilt junior catcher Chris Harvey will sign a free agent deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday.  Harvey is a member of the 2014 National Championship team and went undrafted in early June.


Harvey played in 87 games during his time as a Commodore, hitting .253 with a .313 on baseball percentage and a .356 slugging percentage.  Injuries and being stuck behind quality talent limited Harvey's college playing time and production.  In 2012 and 2013 Harvey was stuck behind Spencer Navin, who was drafted by the Dodgers.  2014 appeared to be Harvey's shot at starting, but an injury derailed those hopes. Freshmen Jason Delay and Karl Ellison emerged and took hold of the catching duties.  Nevertheless, Harvey got to play in the College World Series. As a DH, he singled in Vanderbilt's 9-8 win over Virginia on June 23rd.


This news isn't particulary surprising for multiple reasons.  Due to the emergence of the two freshmen catchers, Harvey likely would have been looking at a backup role as a senior in 2015.  Harvey was considered a prime candidate to transfer this summer. On top of that, Harvey was held in high regard by some MLB clubs.  Had he played in more games, he would have likely been drafted in June.  Harvey's size (6'5" and 225 lbs) and defensive skills make him an enticing prospect.


Harvey joins Pedro Alvarez as the only two former Dores in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.  Harvey will likely report to the Pirates Rookie League team, the Bristol Pirates.


Vanderbilt's Chris Harvey takes a big swing during the College World Series on June 23rd. Photo courtesy of Zimbio.com

Next step for Vanderbilt's senior class: The National Football League

Posted by Russell on January 6, 2014 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Vanderbilt topped yet another historic season this past Saturday with their 41-24 BBVA Compass Bowl victory over the Houston Cougars at Legion Field.  It was the final game in a Commodore uniform for 20 seniors, but many of those seniors are not calling it quits when it comes to football. In fact, at least 15 of them will be training for the NFL, and they will try to catch the eye of pro scouts this spring at Vanderbilt's annual Pro Day. 


The following list of Commodores players have been confirmed to be training for the NFL (updated with Teams):


#87 Jordan Matthews, WR (Drafted by Eagles)- Will participate in the NFL Combine and the Senior Bowl; Vandy's top NFL prospect

#1 Kenny Ladler, S (UDFA with Bills)- Will participate in the East-West Shrine Game; likely Vandy's top defensive prospect

#23 Andre Hal, CB (Drafted by Texans)- Will participate in the East-West Shrine Game; Projected as a 6th to 7th rounder by NFL Draft Scout

#17 Jonathan Krause, WR (UDFA with Browns) - Will participate in the Medal of Honor Bowl; a sleeper at the WR position

#36 Chase Garnham, LB (Tryout with Bucs)- Finished the season on a strong note after missing half of the season due to an injury

#80 Chris Boyd, WR (UDFA with Cowboys) - Was dimissed from the team in September, declared early for the NFL Draft

#6 Austyn Carta-Samuels, QB- Had surgery for an ACL injury that he played on in the team's final 3 regular season wins

#28 Karl Butler, LB- Solid senior campaign despite missing time due to an injury

#67 Wesley Johnson, OL (Drafted by Steelers) - All-SEC lineman that is projected as a 5th round pick by NFL Draft Scout

#31 Javon Marshall, S (Tryout with Falcons) - A leader in Vandy's stellar defensive backfield

#39 Carey Spear, K (UDFA with Eagles) - One of the better kickers in the country, Spear has the ability to hit long range field goals

#90 Walker May, DE (UDFA with Falcons)- Had a strong senior year, and is a fairly highly ranked defensive end

#12 Steven Clarke, CB (UDFA with Dolphins)- Will participate in the Medal of Honor Bowl; enjoyed a strong senior season starting at CB

#97 Jared Morse, DT- Returned to the team in the fall after being kicked off in the spring; had 6 sacks on the year

#24 Wesley Tate, RB-  Struggled during senior season, but has the tools to impress NFL scouts at Pro Day

It should also be noted that former RB Warren Norman will also train for the NFL if he is deemed healthy enough to do so.

Stay tuned during the coming weeks for more news on Commodores getting ready for the NFL Draft!


  

Jordan Matthews (#87), Karl Butler (#28), and Kenny Ladler (#1) will all be looking to take their football careers to the next level.  Photos from Sports Illustrated and Go Vols Extra.



Krause seizes golden opportunity

Posted by Russell on October 11, 2013 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

If anyone's benefited from the Vanderbilt controversy this year, it's Jonathan Krause.  No, he's not USC fan, looking to pry James Franklin away from his current employer. He's Vandy's other starting wide receiver, next Jordan Matthews, the soon to be All-American and NFL Draft pick.  When Vandy's other sure handed reciver, Chris Boyd, was suspended and dismissed from the team, a starting spot landed right in Krause lap.


He's taken full advantage of the chance, and is having a career season through the first 6 games.  Krause has 24 catches for 430 yards and 2 touchdowns, much improved from his 2012 campaign, which saw Krause catch just 9 passes for 69 yards. Anyone who had watched Vandy football had certainly heard of Krause, as he had a strong freshman campaign and has also been a special teams factor. But until his breakout performance against UMass in September, Krause had yet to catch a single touchdown pass. After a 100 yard performance in Boston,  Krause returned to Nashville for another 100 yard game against UAB.   Despite a tough loss to Missouri last week, Krause had 81 yards and another touchdown.


The emergence of Jonathan Krause is great news for Vandy fans. The loss of Chris Boyd seemed that it would wreak havoc on Vanderbilt's season.  With Matthews and now Krause both having career years, it's not the wide receivers that are keeping Vanderbilt from winning big games.  Krause has given new starting QB Austyn Carta-Samuels a solid number 2 option,  as Matthews often draws lots of attention from opposing defenses.


When next May rolls around, Matthews will likely hear his named called in the first or second round.  Don't count Krause out; his twitter background picture features an NFL football which clearly shows his pro aspirations. While he may not be receiving the attention of his counterpart, Krause has terrific speed and can make plays.  With a strong final 6 games Krause may get the attention of some NFL scouts as well.  But first, he and Matthews have some games to win.


Jonathan Krause #17 of the Vanderbilt Commodores stiff arms Buddy Mitchell #27 of the Austin Peay Governors at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 7, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (zimbio.com)

Brandon Barden gets first NFL TD in loss to Bengals

Posted by Russell on August 18, 2013 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (1)

Former star Vanderbilt tight end Brandon Barden made his splash in the Titans preseason loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday night.  Barden snagged his first touchdown, a 4 yard score that also served as his first pro catch.  Barden also held on to a Rusty Smith 4th down pass as he was hit by a Bengal. Barden was able to move the sticks there, and finished the game with 3 catches, good for 16 yards and a TD.


Video of Barden's catch: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000231251/Barden-4-yard-touchdown-catch


Barden's interview after the game: http://www.titansonline.com/media-center/videos/Brandon-Barden-on-Touchdown-vs-Bengals/3ca404c2-f5aa-4cc3-a27f-3843e41c5b7c


Brandon Barden leaps up to grab his first NFL touchdown.  Photo from yahoosports.com

Vandy WR Chris Boyd charged and suspended

Posted by Russell on August 16, 2013 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Statement from Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Beth Fortune on indictment of Vanderbilt student-athlete Chris Boyd:

Today the Davidson County District Attorney charged Chris Boyd, a member of the Vanderbilt football team, with accessory after the fact related to the incident that occurred in a Vanderbilt residence hall June 23. The charges follow those announced Aug. 9 stemming from the same incident. All of these allegations, including those brought today, are deeply troubling, and we take them very seriously.

Pursuant to the athletic department conduct policy, Mr. Boyd has been suspended from the football team, pending further review.

We continue to respect that at this point in the criminal justice process no determination of guilt has been made. We continue to cooperate closely with the District Attorney's office and Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.


Chris Boyd dives into the endzone during a game in 2012.  Boyd was charged and suspended on Friday.

Photo from zimbio.com

 


Nevin Wilson transfers to Colorado Mesa University

Posted by Russell on August 10, 2013 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Vanderbilt pitcher Nevin Wilson has announced his plans to transfer to Colorado Mesa Univeristy via Twitter on Friday.

Colorado Mesa University is located in Grand Junction, CO, and the Mavericks play in NCAA Divison 2.  The baseball team went 45-11 in 2013, and made it to the NCAA D2 Regionals. Wilson will likely get a chance to start right away for the Mavericks.


Analysis: Wilson never really got a chance to get going in a Commodore uniform, as he pitched only 3 and 2/3 innings in his 2 year career on West End.  With as many talented arms as the Commodores have, innings would probably have been hard to come by for Wilson in 2014.  That makes his transfer to Colorado Mesa Univeristy all worth it.  Wilson was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011, and is looking to hear his named called again in the next few years.  Wilson had his struggles with the Laconia Muskrats this summer ( 7.78 in just over 34 innings), but perhaps a change of scenery will provide his game with new life.


 

Nevin Wilson pitching for the Laconia Muskrats in the NECBL this summer.

Photo from LaconiaMuskrats.com