Walk-on Bourque catches coaches' eyes

Jason Bourque, a speedy walk-on from Lafayette, La., has caught the coaches' eyes during the first week of spring practice.

The first touchdown in a Vanderbilt football scrimmage of the Bobby Johnson era was scored not by a scholarship player, but by an obscure walk-on-- Jason Bourque, a speedy running back from Lafayette, La.

Jason who?

Bourque, who wears #31, has been one of the real surprises of Vanderbilt's spring practice thus far.  An unknown walk-on, Bourque, a 5-7, 170-pound junior, has been getting some work alongside scholarship players Norval McKenzie, Matthew Tant, Ronald Hatcher and others.  He scored a touchdown in last Saturday's scrimmage with a nifty effort on an option pitch.

Bourque is a graduate of St. Thomas More Catholic School in Lafayette, where he played football and was also a championship power-lifter in the 165-pound weight class.

He enrolled at Vanderbilt in 1999, and could compete next fall as a fourth-year junior. He is majoring in chemistry.  In 1999, he was a walk-on on the Commodore baseball squad.

So far in spring practice, Bourque has turned a few heads, mainly due to his small stature and quick burst.

"Under the new coaching staff, pursuit to the football is critical, and the A-team defense is getting a workout just chasing him down," said Vanderbilt football publicist Larry Leathers.  "He does not stop until the whistle blows.  If nothing else, he is getting the defensive line in shape."

Because of his elusive quickness, the new coaching staff has also given Bourque a shot at fielding punts, in addition to Hatcher.

Whether Bourque will actually be able to contribute in the fall is impossible to say just yet.  But at this point, it's safe to say the coaching staff has taken notice of #31.

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