Cutler, Osemwegie Selected by Teammates
Nashville, Tenn. -- Jay Cutler and Moses Osemwegie, a pair of fifth-year seniors and All-Southeastern Conference candidates, will serve as captains of the 2005 Vanderbilt football squad.
Cutler, a three-year starting quarterback from Santa Claus, Ind., and Osemwegie, a two-year starting linebacker from Nashville, were elected during a recent vote of their teammates.
The selection puts Cutler in rare company among all-time Vanderbilt players. When the Commodores open their 2005 season at Wake Forest on Thursday, Sept. 1, Cutler will become just the second Vanderbilt player in the team's 116-year history to serve as captain for three seasons. The only other former athlete sharing the honor is Elliott H. Jones, who served as the squad's first captain in 1890, and continued through 1892. Jones was one of the founders of the Vanderbilt football program, and also served as the team's coach from 1890-92.
Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson was pleased with both selections. "The team did a very fine job in electing Jay and Moses as their captains. Both have excelled on the field, but more importantly both have been leaders by example. They are totally dedicated to their team and their teammates," the coach said.
A preseason All-SEC and Davey O'Brien Award candidate, Cutler has started 34 games at quarterback for the Commodores. Entering his final season, Cutler ranks first or second among active SEC quarterbacks in virtually every career statistical category, including total offense, passing yardage, touchdown passes, completions, rushing yards by quarterback, rushing touchdowns and combined touchdowns.
In 2004, Cutler became just the second Vanderbilt quarterback in 35 years to complete 60 percent of his passes, connecting on 147 of 241 attempts for 1,844 yards and 10 touchdowns. His total of five interceptions was the third fewest by a Commodore signal caller in the last three decades.
Cutler appreciates the continued faith shown by his teammates and hopes to lead the squad to more success in his final year. "To get elected for a third time means a great deal to me. Hopefully, in my last year, I can help guide this team to greater success. Getting wins is the reason all of us are playing this game," Cutler said.
Osemwegie is the latest in a line of outstanding linebackers to come out of Vanderbilt, following such All-SEC standouts as Chris Gaines, Shelton Quarles, Jamie Duncan, Jamie Winborn, Matt Stewart and Hunter Hillenmeyer since the mid-1980s.
Osemwegie is the SEC's leading active defender, starting his senior season with 273 career tackles, 40 more than his nearest competitior. Osemwegie also comes off a 2004 campaign when topped all SEC linebackers with 9.4 tackles a game, earning First Team All-SEC recognition by the league's coaches and Associated Press writers.
Osemwegie, versatile enough to play all three linebacking positions for the Commodores, was recently named to preseason watchlists for the Lombardi and Lott trophies.
"I'm honored that my teammates voted for me as their captain. I plan on working as hard as possible to be the best I can be and make them proud of my selection," Osemwegie said.
"Moses is a great example of a great leader who is not that vocal." Johnson said. "He leads by example, but isn't afraid to tell his teammates what has to be done to be successful. Every player knows they can count on Moses."
Vanderbilt, entering its fourth year under Johnson, hosts six games on campus this year. Home opponents for the Commodores are Ole Miss, Richmond, Middle Tennessee, Georgia, LSU and Kentucky. Reduced Commodore season tickets are available to the public. Packages start at $65.