Jones, Hillenmeyer Preparing
For All-Star Appearances; Both Seek To Impress Pro Scouts
In Upcoming Hula Bowl 1/16/03
Tenn. A pair of Vanderbilt senior defensive standouts,
cornerback Rushen Jones and linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer,
are scheduled to make upcoming appearances in postseason all-star
Jones, a native of Memphis, Tenn., has been invited to play
in a pair of all-star games, the Rotary Gridiron Classic on
January 25 in Orlando, Fla., and the Maui Hula Bowl on February
1. Hillenmeyer, one of the SECs most effective linebackers
in 2002, will join Jones in Maui for the Hula Bowl.
During their four-year careers, Jones and Hillenmeyer continued
Vanderbilts tradition of producing superb linebackers
and defensive backs. This season, former Commodore linebackers
Jamie Duncan, Shelton Quarles, Matt Stewart and Jamie Winborn
started in the NFL. Former Vanderbilt defensive backs Corey
Chavous and Corey Harris also started for pro squads.
established career highs in 2002 with 70 tackles and 10 deflected
passes. Jones was a four-year starter in the Commodore secondary,
earning all-American status as a freshman. This season, he
was a key reason why the Vanderbilt secondary held its final
three opponents without a touchdown reception.
Hillenmeyer was Vanderbilts most productive player
despite changing positions to middle linebacker. He finished
the season as the SECs leader with 116 solo tackles
and 168 total tackles. He ended the season ranked second in
both categories nationally. Hillenmeyer also led the Commodores
with 11 tackles for loss, seven quarterback hurries and four
Hillenmeyer, a native of Nashville, also was named First
Team All-SEC by league coaches after the season..
A first-team all-conference pick by SEC coaches, Hillenmeyer
also posted team highs with 11 tackles for loss, seven quarterback
hurries and four sacks.
Hillenmeyer has spent much of the postseason garnering accolades
for his work in the classroom. He was one of six Divison I-A
players to earn prestigious Scholar Student-Athlete
status by the College Football Hall of Fame and National Football
Foundation. Last month, he was named to the 2002 Verizon Academic
All-America Football Team. Hillenmeyer achieved a 3.79 GPA
while earning undergraduate degrees in Economics and Human
& Organizational Development.
This is the first year since 1978 that two Vanderbilt players
are included on Hula Bowl rosters. That season, Commodore
defensive end Dennis Harrison and receiver Martin Cox travelled
to the Hawaii game.