New Haven, Conn. - Vanderbilt sophomore cornerback D.J. Moore was named the National Defensive Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation Sunday after a stellar individual performance Saturday that helped the Commodores defeat No. 6 ranked South Carolina 17-6 in Columbia, S.C.
Moore, a native of South Carolina and graduate of Broome H.S. in Spartanburg, paced one of the strongest Vanderbilt defensive team efforts in years with a pair of timely interceptions and eight total tackles. Moore was also sensational on special teams, averaging 34 yards on three kickoff returns.
Moore became the first Commodore ever recognized as a Walter Camp Football Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week.
"D.J. played a remarkable game against South Carolina, and was very important to an outstanding effort by our entire defensive unit. He's just a special player, a guy that has a knack for making plays and being around the football," Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson said.
For the second consecutive game, the versatile Moore saw action on offense, defense and special teams for the Commodores. On defense, he intercepted a South Carolina pass on their first possession that led to Vanderbilt's first points, then added a critical interception in the Commodore endzone that halted a Gamecock drive. He also added five solo tackles, a team-high eight total stops, and one defensed pass. On offense, he carried twice on reverses - and even looked to pass on one of the two rushing attempts. Moore also returned three kickoffs for 102 yards.
Moore ranks among the national and SEC leaders in various statistical categories. He leads in the SEC - and is tied for third nationally - with five interceptions, the highest single season total by a Commodore in 18 years. Moore is second in the conference - and tied for 16th in the nation - in solo tackles, averaging 6.1 per game. He also ranked 25th nationally with nine defensed passes and is the nation's 23rd leading kickoff returner with a 27.5-yard average. Only one Vanderbilt player - the late Kwane Doster in 2002 - has averaged more than 25 yards as a kickoff return specialist in the last four decades.
Moore's recognition comes on the heels of one of the finest performances by a Vanderbilt defense in years. The 17-6 Commodore victory marked the first time in 15 years that a Vanderbilt defense has kept an SEC opponent out of the end zone, dating back to a 31-9 victory over Ole Miss on Sept. 19, 1992. Not since 1975 - when the Commodores beat Kentucky 13-3 - has a Vanderbilt defense allowed fewer points by an SEC opponent. It was the fewest points allowed by Vanderbilt to any opponent since the Commodores shut out The Citadel 58-0 on Oct. 9, 1999.