July 8, 2013
Vanderbilt cornerback Andre Hal was named today as a preseason contender for the Bednarik Award, presented to the college football’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Hal, a senior from Port Allen, La., is one of 16 standouts from the Southeastern Conference included on the 76-player watch list. The Bednarik Award, named for former University of Penn and Philadelphia Eagles star Chuck Bednarik, has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995.
Hal becomes the first Vanderbilt player named to the Bednarik watch list since three-time All-SEC linebacker Chris Marve was recognized in 2011.
Hal becomes the second Commodore named to a prestigious individual award watch list today. Earlier, wide receiver Jordan Matthews was named as a player to watch for the Maxwell Award, given to the nation’s top player.
The Bednarik list is the latest preseason recognition for Hal, who earned Second Team All-SEC honors last year from the league’s head coaches. He has been named to various All-SEC units by preseason magazines and has received preseason All-America honors from Athlon and Phil Steele.
Hal is coming off a stellar season in 2012. Given the task of replacing all-conference recipient Casey Hayward, Hal finished the year second among all SEC defensive backs with 16 passes defended. He posted three pass breakups in Commodore road wins at Missouri and Ole Miss and against N.C. State in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
Hal also added a pair of interceptions, both coming in Vanderbilt’s 41-18 victory over Tennessee. He also proved to be a solid open-field tackler, finishing the year with 36 solo stops and 48 total stops.
Hal is also recognized as one of the SEC’s top return specialists. He has a career average of 23.4 yards as a kick returner, including a 96-yard touchdown against Georgia in 2011. Hal’s longest return last year was 52 yards.
Coming off a 9-4 campaign capped with a victory in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, the Commodores with Matthews and Hal returning will help kick off the college football season on ESPN for the second straight year when they host Ole Miss on Thursday, Aug. 29.
Season tickets remain available, starting at $145 and $160 for Vanderbilt Stadium end zone sections. Tickets can be purchased online or via phone at (615) 322-GOLD (4653). The Vanderbilt Ticket Office also is open during regular hours on weekdays in McGugin Athletics Center, 2601 Jess Neely Drive.