Johnson Named First-Team Freshman
All-America; Cutler, Doster, Osemwegie Also Recognized
Louis, Mo. Greg Johnson of Vanderbilt is the nation's
top freshman punter, according to The Sporting News.
Johnson, a graduate of Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga.,
earned the publication's first team Freshman All-American
honor after averaging 43.8 yards per attempt, fifth best in
the NCAA. Johnsons net average of 38.8 yards ranked
fourth in the nation.
The Commodores placed three freshmen - quarterback Jay Cutler,
tailback/return specialist Kwane Doster and linebacker Moses
Osemwegie - on The Sporting News four-team squad. Cutler
and Doster were named to the third team. Osemwegie received
fourth team recognition.
It also marks the first time Vanderbilt has had four players
named to the team in the same season. The last Commodore selected
was cornerback Rushen Jones, selected on the third team in
Johnson becomes just the second Vanderbilt player to earn
first-team honors. Former nose guard Ryan Aulds was picked
Johnson answered a huge preseason question for Vanderbilt
- the team entered 2002 without collegiate experience at the
punting position. Johnson ended the year as both the teams
punter and placekicker.
punt average was the fifth highest ever by a Commodore, and
set a team freshman record. Johnson also achieved at least
one punt of more than 50 yards in 11 of 12 games. As a kicker,
he converted on eight of 13 field goals and all 27 extra point
Doster, voted earlier by coaches and The Sporting News as
the SECs Offensive Freshman of the Year, set a Vanderbilt
freshman record with 798 rushing yards despite starting the
season as the third tailback. He also displayed remarkable
breakaway ability, averaging 25.7 yards on kickoff returns.
He smashed a conference record with 243 yards in kickoff returns
against Ole Miss.
Cutler started 11 games at quarterback, passing for at quarterback
in all 11 games he participated in this season. The Santa
Claus, Ind., native passed for 1,433 yards and 10 touchdowns
while rushing for 393 yards. He also led all SEC quarterbacks
with nine rushing touchdowns. The Santa Claus, Ind., native
es established a freshman team record with 10 touchdown passes,
and ended the season second all-time among Commodore freshmen
in completions (103), attempts (212) and passing yards.
A rash of injuries kept Osemwegie from a superb season. After
starting the Commodores first two games at outside linebacker,
the Nashville native played through severe knee, ankle and
hand injuries much of the season. He ended the year as the
teams fifth leading tackler with 53 total stops, including
40 solo tackles. He also added 4.5 tackles for loss and 1.5
Johnson, Doster, Cutler and Osemwegie were among 24 freshmen
or redshirt freshmen to play for the Commodores in Bobby Johnsons
first year at the Vanderbilt helm.