Football: Byrum, Jones, Stricker Named Captains

Three All-Southeastern Conference caliber seniors - center Jamie Byrum, cornerback Rushen Jones and wide receiver Dan Stricker - have been selected team captains for the 2002 Vanderbilt Commodores.

Byrum and Stricker will serve as team captain for the second consecutive season. The 2002 campaign will be Jones' first as a captain.

Head Coach Bobby Johnson announced the 2002 captains Saturday at a team picnic following the Black & Gold Scrimmage. They were elected by a vote of their teammates in the last week of spring practice. The team returns to practice this August for preseason drills.

Byrum is a two-year starter at center, giving the Commodores a solid foundation on the offensive line. An intelligent player, Byrum was responsible for calling blocking signals the past two years. His veteran leadership also has played a key role this spring as Johnson's staff introduced the offense to a different system.

Byrum, 6-4, 282, is a native of Grove City, Ohio, and has earned a reputation for durability and playing with injury. He started every game in 2001, despite undergoing a knee procedure just three weeks before the season opener.

Jones, a native of Memphis, is a three-year starter in the Commodore secondary. A third-team All-American as a freshman, Jones returns in 2002 after missing five games last year with a broken hand. The 'Dore defense suffered in his absence, giving up 44 points per game. In the six games Jones played, the unit allowed 27 points a game.

Jones is a vocal leader, and has impressed teammates and Johnson's new staff with his ability to understand different coverage packages in the defense's new 4-3 look.

Stricker, of Cincinnati, Ohio, is one year shy of establishing perhaps the greatest receiving career in Vanderbilt history. He needs 63 catches, 705 yards receiving and six TDs in 2002 to become the Commodores' all-time leader in all three categories.

The two-time All-SEC selection enters the 2002 season with 138 catches, 15 touchdowns and 2,260 yards. Last year, he amassed the third finest season ever by a VU receiver, catching 65 passes for 1,079 yards and eight TDs. Top Stories