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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 Football Offseason Notebook: Welcoming new names and faces as spring ball picks up

The Commodores are set to begin the start of Team 2 with new recruits, transfers and coaches while also returning a number of experienced players.
Senior running back Re’Mahn Davis runs through drills at practice on March 24, 2022. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Vanderbilt football continued its spring season this past week, which will ultimately culminate in the spring game on April 16 at Vanderbilt Stadium. Fifteen total spring practices, including a number of scrimmages, will allow head coach Clark Lea to get Team 2 off the ground.

This past Thursday morning was the team’s fourth session of the spring and the Commodores practiced enthusiastically with a great deal of effort and energy, running individual unit drills and a few scrimmage plays. Three quarterbacks, dressed in red no-contact jerseys, were on the field—juniors Mike Wright and Ken Seals and freshman AJ Swann, who enrolled at Vanderbilt at the start of the semester.

Newly promoted offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Joey Lynch spoke to the media following Thursday’s practice. He highlighted both the returns of Wright and Seals, who will be coming back for their third season on West End despite the recent draw of the transfer portal and the fact that only one of them will be named the starter. 

“They came here for a reason and love the guys in their locker room,” Lynch told the media after Thursday’s practice. “They want to be the ones with their teammates to be the change and get this thing moving in the right direction.” 

Lynch also touched on the development of Swann, a three-star recruit from Canton, Georgia, who should be a high school senior but graduated early to enroll in January. 

“He’s smart; he can pick up the playbook really fast, and he’s savvy,” Lynch said. “He has a great feel for the game and can put the ball in play, which is always nice at quarterback.”  

Kane Patterson, a junior linebacker that transferred from Clemson, has also just gotten started with his Commodore career this spring but is excited for the road ahead. He will join his brother Langston, an incoming freshman who also plays linebacker, on the field next fall.

“It’s always been our dream to play together,” Patterson said. “When I figured he was coming here to play, I knew it’d be a great place to finish my career.” 

Patterson brings two years of experience playing for one of the most well-respected programs in college football to West End. At Vanderbilt, he is focused on leading the program in the right direction by making sure everyone gives it their all.  

“Coach [Nick] Howell [defensive coordinator] sets the standard for us and just our number one thing this spring is total effort,” Patterson said. “You’re not going to see anyone just jogging around.”

Junior running back Rocko Griffin, who finished last season with four rushing touchdowns and had his best performance with 30 rushes, 104 rushing yards and a touchdown in the last game of the season against Tennessee, spoke to his excitement towards next season.

“Going through last year, obviously it’s a big second year for a lot of us,” he said. “Fresh start, new coaches, and everybody is loving the staff right now. Our group has gone through some growing pains, but we’re excited for where we’re at.”

Thursday was also the media’s first chance to meet Howell. Coming to Vanderbilt from the University of Virginia, where he coached from 2016 to 2021, Howell will serve as this year’s defensive coordinator.

“Really big opportunity,” Howell said. “I think the kids are exceptional kids, just really good kids who want to be and are good football players. I think Coach Lea has a really good vision for the program—there’s a staff that’s aligned with him and there’s a lot of work ahead, so it’s exciting.”

Off of the practice field, the Commodores recently welcomed two new transfers: Jacob Brammer, a 6’4”, 258-pound offensive tackle from North Texas, and Myles Cecil, a 6’3”, 285-pound defensive lineman from Cal Poly. To this point, the fall team will be composed of six transfer players and 28 new freshmen.

The Commodores spring season will continue with practices, Saturday scrimmages and the spring game in mid-April.


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About the Contributor
Andy Carr
Andy Carr, Former Assistant Sports Editor
Andy Carr ('22) was a student in the College of Arts and Science who studied economics with minors in business and computer science. In addition to writing, he enjoys running, playing golf and rooting for all D.C. sports. He can be reached at [email protected].
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