Posted: 11:33 a.m. Wednesday, July 10, 2013
By Christian D'Andrea
Three players who are likely to hear their names called in the 2014 NFL Draft will get an early jump when it comes to gaining experience with rabid sports reporters. Vanderbilt announced today that Andre Hal, Wesley Johnson, and Jordan Matthews will represent the team at the annual SEC Media Days summit next week.
The group, along with head coach James Franklin, will address the media to preview the upcoming 2013 season. Vanderbilt, a team that is looking for an unprecedented third straight bowl appearance, will be a hot topic in Hoover, AL. The secrecy revolving around a potential sex crime that left four players expelled from the Commodore campus will be a likely theme to the day's events as well.
The team picked three standout players to represent the team. Hal, an All-SEC cornerback, is a shutdown defender that Mel Kiper has picked as one of the top 10 corners in next year's draft. Johnson, a less-heralded member of the offensive line, has started every game for the 'Dores in the last three years at multiple positions and has never been flagged for a holding penalty. Matthews, coming off of a 94-catch, 1,300 yard season, may be the best receiver in all of college football next fall.
The trio will join a host of SEC standouts at the media summit. Players like Johnny Manziel, AJ McCarron, Jadeveon Clowney, and Raymond Sanders will all be in attendance. Unfortunately, the three-player limit left senior kicker Carey Spear, an All-SEC selection and Groza Award Watch List member, on the sideline. At the very least, he could have discussed hits like this:
Vanderbilt has become a more popular destination for reporters in recent years than ever before. Robbie Caldwell's self-deprecating humor earned him high marks in his only season as Commodore head coach. Since then, James Franklin has been turning heads with his confidence with the media and success on the field. This year, he'll have to utilize that confidence while navigating around the open investigation into the aforementioned possible crimes on campus. Since that investigation is still ongoing, the team can't say too much about the potential scandal. However, any media guides that are released would likely omit the now-released players, opening speculation into who the possible suspects are.
No matter the outcome, expect the 'Dores to produce a few headlines for a football-hungry crowd again next week.
Last year, the 'Dores sent Jordan Rodgers, Zac Stacy, and Trey Wilson. All three were instrumental pieces to Vandy's first nine-win season in nearly 100 years. Let's hope that the same result bodes true for Hal, Johnson, and Matthews.