Cutler, Osemwegie earn preseason honors

Nashville, Tenn. - Two Vanderbilt seniors, quarterback Jay Cutler and linebacker Moses Osemwegie, were selected by Southeastern Conference coaches to the 2005 Preseason First Team All-SEC squad, league officials announced on Wednesday.

Cutler, a native of Santa Claus, Ind., and Osemwegie, a resident of Nashville, become the first Commodores picked to the coaches' first-team preseason ballot. This marks the second year the SEC has released a coaches' preseason ballot.

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Cutler and Osemwegie enter their final year in a Commodore uniform as team captains.

The Commodores open preseason camp on August 8, in preparation for the season opener against ACC foe Wake Forest on Thursday, Sept. 1, in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson, who was not allowed to vote for his own players, said both Cutler and Osemwegie are deserving recipients of the preseason honor.

"I couldn't be happier for Jay and Moses," Johnson said. "You are talking about two outstanding young men that have given a lot to the Vanderbilt program and deserve this type of recognition.

"I think Jay is the best quarterback in the SEC, and one of the nation's best. He is a great athlete, competitor, teammate and leader; everything any coach would want in a quarterback. The same can be said of Moses, who was voted first team by the coaches last year. They see what I see -- an extremely active linebacker who plays hard every down. On top of that, Moses is an outstanding person off the field. Vanderbilt fans can take great pride in both of them," the Commodore head coach added.

Cutler (photo right), a 2004 preseason second-team pick by the coaches, enters his final year as a Commodore as the SEC active career leader with 6,665 yards of total offense, 54 combined touchdowns, 437 pass completions and 16 rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.

Cutler also ranks among the top four in nearly every category of the Commodore career record book for quarterbacks. His combined touchdown total stands as a team record, and he ranks second all-time with 38 touchdown passes and 5,624 passing yards.

Cutler, who has improved his passing efficiency each season, completed 61 percent of his passes in 2004 while throwing just five interceptions. He became just the third Vanderbilt signal caller to complete more than 60% of his passes in a season (minimum 100 attempts).

This season, Cutler also will become just the second player to serve three years as a captain in the school's 115-year gridiron history. The only other three-time captain, Elliott Jones, started the program in 1890 and was the team's first head coach.

Osemwegie enters the season as the SEC's leading active tackler with 273 career tackles. He has ranked among the SEC leading tacklers since his sophomore season.

Osemwegie (photo left), who played prep football one mile from the Vanderbilt campus (Montgomery Bell Academy), was a consensus All-SEC selection last year after leading the Commodores in several defensive categories, including solo tackles. He amassed at least 10 tackles in seven of Vanderbilt's first eight games.

Named as a 2005 preseason All-American by Athlon's College Football Preview, Osemwegie also was named to the Lott Trophy watchlist and is expected to be a candidate for several other national awards for defensive standouts.

Vanderbilt is offering the SEC's most affordable season ticket for a six-game home schedule that includes Ole Miss, Sept. 17; Richmond, Sept. 24; Middle Tennessee, Oct. 1; LSU, Oct. 8; Georgia, Oct. 15; and Kentucky, Nov. 12. Season ticket plans starting as low as $65 per person is available.

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