The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt lineman Stephen Spanellis opts out, two quarterbacks released from quarantine

Stephen Spanellis became the fourth offensive lineman to opt out of the 2020 season.
Mattigan Kelly
Tight end Gavin Schoenwald and linebacker Andre Mintze enter the field against UNLV on Oct. 12, 2019. (Hustler Multimedia/Mattigan Kelly)

Vanderbilt head football coach Derek Mason said in Tuesday’s press conference that offensive lineman Stephen Spanellis has opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns regarding COVID-19.

“Stephen decided to opt out,” Mason said. “For us, that’s another one of those pieces you thought you may have, but right now, for us, we’re just looking at our depth on the offensive line, and our young guys are getting better.”

Spanellis, a transfer from the University of Michigan, is one of at least five Commodores to opt out of the 2020 season, joining placekicker Oren Milstein and offensive linemen Cole Clemens, Jonathan Stewart and Bryce Bailey. Linebacker Dimitri Moore, who had previously opted out of the season, announced his intention to opt back in on Aug. 25.

For the second week in a row, Mason did not give a number of total opt-outs. However, he does not anticipate that more players will opt out prior to their first game against Texas A&M on Sept. 26.

“Right now, I think I’m pretty set with what we have,” Mason said, when asked if more players might opt out. “Obviously, a student-athlete can opt out at any time. We do understand that everybody has something different going on, and I constantly remind our team of where we are and what we’re doing.”

Mason also alluded to the fact that two quarterbacks, Jeremy Moussa and Danny Clark, were among the student-athletes recently released from isolation housing.

“We’ve got four talented quarterbacks. We had a couple of guys who were in quarantine who just came back, which is great because now they’re back on the grass and we’ll get a chance to continue moving forward,” Mason said. “I’ve been impressed with the young guys, in terms of what they’re doing. Obviously the older guys were in quarantine for a little bit, they’re just coming back. But the young guys have been terrific.”

The four candidates for Vanderbilt’s starting quarterback job are Clark, Moussa, Mike Wright and Ken Seals. Clark and Moussa, transfers from junior colleges, are both juniors. The two are likely the “older guys [that] were in quarantine,” since Wright and Seals are freshmen.

“In terms of opting out, I really don’t talk about it a ton. But I do talk about taking care of your body. Your body is your job,” Mason said. “If you have health concerns, let’s make sure we continue to address those. Everybody is different.”

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About the Contributors
Simon Gibbs, Former Sports Editor
Simon Gibbs (‘21) is the former Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. He has been on staff since the first semester of his freshman year, previously serving as a Staff Writer, Senior Writer and Deputy Sports Editor. Simon is also the host of VU Sports Wired on Vanderbilt Video Productions and The Hustler Sports 30 on VandyRadio. Simon has attended several events as credentialed media, including the 2019 NFL Draft, 2019 College Baseball World Series and the 2019 SEC Tournament. Outside of his Commodore coverage, Simon has had bylines published on and When he's not writing, you can find Simon watching his hometown New York Mets, waiting for that next ring. For tips, comments or concerns, please reach out to: [email protected]    
Mattigan Kelly, Former Deputy Multimedia Director
Mattigan Kelly ('22) was Deputy Multimedia Director for The Vanderbilt Hustler. She has been on the staff since her freshman year. Mattigan majored in chemical engineering in the School for Engineering. In addition to shooting for The Hustler, she was the Development Coordinator for Camp Kesem at Vanderbilt, works in a research lab on campus and plays Club Tennis.
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