Jay says he'll stay

NASHVILLE-- Commodore fans received good news Monday when standout quarterback <B>Jay Cutler</b> announced he would return for his final year of eligibility. The native of Santa Claus, Ind. made the announcement during a press conference in the McGugin Athletic Center.

NASHVILLE-- Commodore fans received good news Monday when standout quarterback Jay Cutler announced he would return for his final year of eligibility. The native of Santa Claus, Ind. made the announcement during a press conference in the McGugin Athletic Center.

"I am extremely excited about what is happening here, and I have decided to stay one more year," Cutler said. "There is some stuff that I want to get done here... obviously I'd like to win more games."

Cutler ranks among the Commodore career leaders for every passing record. Barring injury, Cutler likely will become the Vanderbilt leader in total offense, passing yardage, touchdown passes and combined touchdowns during the 2005 season.

Head Coach Bobby Johnson praised the three-year starter. "All of us associated with the Vanderbilt football program are extremely pleased that Jay is returning for his senior season," Johnson said. "One of the best players in our (Southeastern) conference just decided to return for his final year. To say the least, we are delighted.

"The leadership Jay brings to our team cannot be overstated. Plus, this gives us a chance to continue to build our offense around an outstanding football player. This is great news for our program," Johnson said.

The three-year starter, who has 34 career starts on his collegiate resume, ranked among the SEC leaders in passing yardage, passing efficiency, total offense and rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. An SEC coaches' preseason all-conference recipient in 2004, Cutler became just the second Vanderbilt quarterback in 35 years to complete more than 60% of his passes. Cutler also threw just five interceptions on the season – the lowest total ever by a Vanderbilt quarterback with a minimum of 200 attempts. During an eight-game stretch in 2004, Cutler threw 176 consecutive passes without an interception.

The dual-threat standout, a two-time team captain, also ranked among the Commodores' top rushers. He finished third on the squad with 349 net rushing yards, and scored a team-high six rushing touchdowns, tops by a quarterback in the Southeastern Conference.

More Quotes from Cutler:

Cutler talked about the decision to return for his senior season following what he termed a "positive" draft evaluation. "I didn't want to make a quick decision. I wanted to take time to think about, get a chance to talk to some people close to this organization and talk to others with no ties to this organization at all. There were a lot of different opinions, but I really believe this is the best one. It's definitely in the best interests of myself and this team to return for my final year."

Talking about the program, Cutler said he was excited about his final season. "we are getting good recruits in here and this coaching staff is doing everything they can to make me a better player and this team better and more competitive. I'm excited about next year and ready to get back to work."


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