Vanderbilt has just 49 active scholarship players for Saturday’s matchup with Tennessee

The Commodores are shorthanded again on Saturday, as they face the Tennessee Volunteers below the SEC threshold of 53 active scholarship players.


Vanderbilt football debuted retro “Vandy” helmets in Week Two against LSU. (Hustler Multimedia/Hunter Long)

Simon Gibbs, Sports Editor

Vanderbilt is dressing only 49 scholarship players for its final game against Tennessee on Saturday due to opt-outs, COVID-19 quarantines and injuries, a university spokesperson told The Hustler.

The minimum threshold set by the Southeastern Conference (SEC) is 53 active scholarship players. If a team falls below the minimum, it can still choose to play rather than have the game postponed or declared a no-contest.

Among Vanderbilt’s notable absences are Dayo Odeyingbo, a senior defensive linemen who opted out this week, senior wide receiver James Bostic, junior defensive end Rutger Reitmaier, sophomore defensive tackle Daevion Davis and junior safety Max Worship.

Vanderbilt’s depth chart lists sophomores Jaylen Mahoney and Justin Harris as the top-two outside linebackers across from Andre Mintze. Mahoney, listed at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, is a cornerback by trade, while Harris, 6-foot-1, 194 pounds, is a safety.

Interim head coach Todd Fitch noted Tuesday that not all missing players had opted out of the season.

“[Players who talked to me] on Sunday and Monday when this all happened, when they first relieved Coach [Derek] Mason—I talked to a lot of guys, like eight or nine guys about their futures and what’s going on,” he said. “The player’s gotta do what’s best for him, and we’re just trying to do what’s best for our program.”

Vanderbilt (0-8) hosts Tennessee (2-6) Saturday at 3:00 p.m. CST.