The reasons to be excited about the upcoming season just keep on growing and Vandy got some more excellent news about the state of the program this week as three 'Dores were named to two of the most prestigious preseason watch lists around.
The receiving duo of Jordan Matthews (photo at right) and Chris Boyd were highlighted by the Biletnikoff Award, earning a spot on the watch list that's reserved for the premier wide receivers in the NCAA. Matthews's inclusion should be of no surprise as the senior has a number of SEC records in his sights entering the fall. His 94 catches for over 1,300 yards a season ago saw minor flirtations with the NFL Draft, but Matthews couldn't resist the opportunity to finish his Vanderbilt career with another dominant season before playing on Sundays.
The recognition for Boyd (photo at right) is almost more exciting for Vandy fans as the junior continues to grow and improve as a major part of James Franklin's offense. His 50 catch 774 yard season in 2012 could prove to be nothing more than an appetizer as he learns how to use his 6-foot-3 frame to his advantage on every play. Last fall he averaged of 15 yards per catch and the potential of this duo, especially with questionable depth behind them, is limitless.
The offense continued to get good news as the other 'Dore who has impressed award selectors enough for a preseason tip is offensive line stalwart Wesley Johnson. In his three years at Vanderbilt Johnson has basically played every position on the line and his talent and versatility have shown through by the fact that he has never been called for a holding penalty. Johnson has been named to the Lombardi Trophy watch list, an award which is given to the best lineman (offensive or defensive) in the NCAA.
As the Vanderbilt football team continues to improve year on year these kind of award nominations should continue to build. The fact that the nation is watching and appreciating the job Franklin and his staff are doing is of huge importance when you take into account the way that team rankings at the end of the season determine a team's bowl standing. The more groundwork that can be laid in the preseason in terms of getting eyes on the team the better, and with any luck Matthews, Boyd, and Johnson will justify their selection and be fighting for awards come the end of December.
Three 'Dores on Preseason Watch Lists
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