2006 VU position overview: Tailbacks

The Vanderbilt tailback position appears to be in dire straits, as the two leading rushers from 2005 are on the mend. If the two veterans are unable to play, three freshmen stand ready to take up the slack. Today VandyMania takes a look at the Commodore tailbacks.

LOSSES

Ron Bullock, Tim Miller.

THE SKINNY

Vanderbilt's running attack was secondary to the passing attack in 2005. Now that All-SEC quarterback Jay Cutler is gone, expect the Commodores to rely more on the running game. Vandy has two veteran running backs on its roster but unfortunately they likely won't be available for the Michigan game. Look to hear the word "freshman" a lot when the Commodores run the ball.

THE MEN

Jeff Jennings (6-1, 228 JR): Saw action in 10 games. Had 123 rushes for 476 yards and 7 touchdowns. Very reliable in goal line situations. Injured in Kentucky game. Caught 21 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown. The Vanderbilt staff was hopeful that he would be ready to go for 2006 but it seems doubtful that he'll be ready.

Cassen Jackson-Garrison (6-1, 220 JR): Saw action in 11 games. Has the ability to break away on long runs. Had 97 rushes for 579 yards and 8 touchdowns. Caught 14 passes for 139 yards. Jackson-Garrison recently underwent an appendectomy which will likely keep him out of the opener at Michigan.

Jared Hawkins (5-10, 190 FR*): Reshirted during 2005 season. As a prep senior rushed for 991 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 6.4 per carry. Hawkins has great speed and strength. He has impressed the coaching staff with his explosivness up the middle. He'll likely start for Vanderbilt at Michigan.

THE FUTURE

Gaston Miller (5-7, 160 SO): Miller rushed for over 5,000 yards and 83 touchdowns during his prep career. The speedy back has shown great promise during preseason practice and will likely get some carries at Michigan.

Kennard Reeves (6-0, 190 FR): Rushed for 870 yards and 12 touchdowns as a high school senior. Reeves has looked good during preseason practice and could see action at Michigan.

REMARKS

It hurts to lose the services of Jennings and Jackson-Garrison. However, as Coach Johnson has said before, sometimes injuries can be a good thing. New talent can be discovered and younger players get experience. Both Hawkins and Miller have the ability to get the job done for Vandy at Michigan.

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