Underclassmen dominate awards at football banquet

Nine Commodores returning for the 2004 season were recognized by teammates and coaches for their contribution to the 2003 Vanderbilt season.

Nine Commodores returning for the 2004 season were recognized by teammates and coaches for their contribution to the 2003 Vanderbilt season.

A group of seven Commodore underclassmen swept the position awards selected by teammates during the announcement at a team dinner held Saturday in Nashville. Two seniors, punter/kicker Abtin Iranmanesh and running back Jason Bourque, were Special Teams MVP and Commodore Hustle Award winners, respectively.

Bobby Johnson and his coaching staff picked junior cornerback Cheron Thompson and sophomore fullback Matthew Tant as co-winners of the Commodore Dedication Award. Besides Iranmanesh, Bourque, Thompson and Tant, other recipients included sophomore Jay Cutler and junior Norval McKenzie, Offensive Back Co-MVPs; sophomore Erik Davis, Receiver/Tight End MVP; junior Justin Geisinger, Offensive Line MVP; sophomore Jovan Haye, Defensive Line MVP; sophomore Moses Osemwegie, Linebacker MVP; and sophomore Dominique Morris, Defensive Secondary MVP.

Jay Cutler, Quarterback - Offensive Back Co-MVP • A co-captain, Cutler set virtually every Vanderbilt passing mark by a sophomore, including touchdowns (1 , yards (2,347), completions (187) and total offense (2,646). • Ranks third in the SEC in total offense, averaging 220.5 yards. • Named SEC Offensive Player of the Week after leading Vanderbilt win over Kentucky. • Cutler's 18-TD total in 2003 is second most ever thrown by Vanderbilt quarterback. • Team's final 11 touchdowns of season came on Cutler passes.

Norval McKenzie, Tailback - Offensive Back Co-MVP • Returned as key contributor after suffering severe ankle injury in 2002. • Rushed for a team-high 639 yards, seventh highest single-season total by a Commodore junior. • Finished season as SEC's eighth leading rushier. • Also led squad with five rushing touchdowns and 162 rushing attempts. • Surpassed 1,000-yard career rushing mark in victory over Kentucky.

Erik Davis, Wide Receiver - Receiver/Tight End MVP • As a first-year starter, led squad with 41 receptions. • Set Vanderbilt sophomore record with eight touchdown catches. • Finished season third among all SEC receivers in touchdown catches. • Led team with 638 yards receiving, fourth highest ever by Vanderbilt sophomore. • Had two TD receptions in victory over Kentucky.

Justin Geisinger, Offensive Tackle - Offensive Line MVP • Named co-captain by teammates. • Earned "winning" blocking grade in every game of the 2003 season. A grade of 85% of better is termed a "winning" grade. • Holds the Commodores' longest current consecutive start streak (24) and has the most career starts (33) on the team. • Allowed just one sack during 2003, and has permitted just two in the last two years. • Strongest Commodore, holds school record for bench press (575 lbs.) and 225-lb. repetitions (37). • Played with injury, starting the final two games with a severe hamstring strain.

Jovan Haye, Defensive End - Defensive Line MVP • Earned Second Team All-SEC recognition by conference head coaches. • Co-leader in the Southeastern Conference with 8.5 sacks, the most by a Commodore defender in since 1994. His sack total is the second highest by a Vanderbilt DE since the team began recording official sacks in 1984. • His solo-tackle total (45) is the most by a Commodore DE since 1980. • Achieved multiple-sacks in three games this season, versus TCU, Georgia and Kentucky. • In addition to sacks, he paced the defense with 12.5 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles and 10 quarterback hurries. • Has started 23 of 24 collegiate games. • Though just a sophomore, he was voted a co-captain by teammates prior to the season.

Moses Osemwegie, Linebacker - Linebacker MVP • Earned or shared Defensive Player of the Week honors four times - versus Auburn, Georgia Tech, Kentucky and Tennessee. • Led the SEC with 78 unassisted tackles. • Was the Southeastern Conference's second leading tackler, averaging 10.50 per game. • Led the defense with 126 total tackles and was second on the team with 10.5 tackles for loss. • Was remarkably consistent, recording 10 or more tackles in eight games this season and at least seven tackles in every game. • Has the versatility to play any of the linebacking positions.

Dominique Morris, Cornerback - Defensive Secondary MVP • Posted career-high 49 tackles this season. • Topped Commodore secondary with three interceptions. • Also led the unit with eight passes defensed. • Returned an interception for touchdown versus UT-Chattanooga, the first by a Commodore since 2000.

Abtin Iranmanesh, Punter/Kicker - Special Teams MVP • Inexperienced before the season, this senior averaged 39.8 yards on 69 punts, 10th best in the SEC. • 24% of punts (17 total) were downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line. • 80-yard punt versus Georgia ranks as the second longest effort in team history. • Became team's kickoff specialist in fourth game of season. • 12 of 30 kickoffs were downed in the end zone. • Opponents averaged 20.1 yards returning his kickoffs.


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