Aug 20, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Vanderbilt Commodores will feature nine team captains for the football season.
Head Coach James Franklin announced today that four defensive players, three offensive performers and two specialists would serve as Commodore captains for the upcoming campaign, which starts next Thursday, Aug. 29, against Southeastern Conference Western Division rival Ole Miss.
Austyn Carta-Samuels (R-Sr., QB), Wesley Johnson (R-Sr., OT) and Jordan Matthews (Sr., WR) will serve as offensive captains. The defense will be represented by Walker May (R-Sr., DE), Chase Garnham (Sr., LB), Andre Hal (Sr., CB) and Javon Marshall (R-Sr., safety). Carey Spear (Sr., PK) and Andrew East (R-Jr., snapper) will serve as special teams' captains.
This marks the third consecutive year in the captain's role for Spear, a 2012 All-SEC placekicker. Johnson, May and Marshall are earning captain status for the second consecutive year.
Hal, from Port Allen, La., ranks among the Southeastern Conference's top cornerbacks. A Second Team All-SEC recipient in 2012, Hal has been named to virtually every preseason all-conference unit and several preseason All-America squads. A Jim Thorpe Award contender, Hal ranks as the league's returning leader with 16 passes defended, including two interceptions.
Johnson, a product of Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, is in the midst of creating one of the finest individual careers in team history. He is team's active leader with 38 consecutive career starts, and is on pace to start more games than any other Commodore. As a junior, the 2012 Associated Press Honorable Mention All-SEC recipient did not allow a quarterback sack or get called for a holding penalty.
Carta-Samuels, from San Jose, Calif., is expected to assume the team's quarterback role from graduated Jordan Rodgers. A two-year starter at the University of Wyoming prior to transferring to Vanderbilt, Carta-Samuels has amassed 20 touchdown passes and more than 3,700 passing yards as a collegiate signal caller.
Matthews, from Madison, Ala., is one of the nation's top receivers. A preseason Biletnikoff Trophy and Maxwell Award candidate, Matthews set a team record with 1,323 receiving yards last year after catching 94 passes, the second highest single-season total in team history. Matthews also ranks among the program's all-time Top 10 receivers with 150 career catches entering his final season.
Marshall, from Huber Heights, Ohio, was one of the Commodores' most productive defenders last year. He ranks among the SEC safety co-leaders with 60 solo tackles and was third on the team with 84 total tackles.
A 13-game starter in 2012, May finished with the year posting single-season highs with 25 solo tackles, 41 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and seven quarterback hurries. He also contributed three quarterback sacks.
As the team's primary placekicker in 2012, Spear enjoyed the greatest season ever by a Commodore kicker. A second team All-SEC recipient, Spear was 14-of-14 on field goals inside 43 yards, and finished the year hitting 11-of-12 field goals, including two of at least 50 yards.
Garnham, from Fairhope, Ala., ranked among the SEC's top linebackers in 2012 with seven quarterback sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. He also was second on the Commodore defense with 84 tackles.
East, from Indianapolis, Ind., is considered one of the league's top all-purpose snappers. He has started as the team's sole snapper for the last two years.
The Commodores open the season Aug. 29 by hosting Ole Miss on ESPN. Kickoff in Vanderbilt Stadium is 8:15 p.m. CT. Season tickets and single-game tickets remain available online at vucommodores.com, by phone at (615) 322-GOLD or at the Vanderbilt Athletic Box Office.