Vanderbilt's Doster Earns Preseason Recognition; Named Second Team All-SEC Tailback in Initial Poll 5/28/03

Vanderbilt sophomore Kwane Doster, one of the top returning running backs in the Southeastern Conference, has earned All-SEC honors in the South's first preseason ballot.

Doster was named to the second team All-SEC offense, and also was the second leading vote getter in the "Best Kick Returner" category in the ballot, published earlier this week as part of the 57th annual Birmingham News SEC Football Preview. Sports information directors from the SEC's 12 member universities voted on the team.

Doster and the Commodores will open the 2003 season at Vanderbilt Stadium August 30 against Ole Miss. The Rebels are led by preseason Heisman Trophy candidate, quarterback Eli Manning.

Doster is coming off a superb 2002 season. Doster became the Commodores' first SEC Freshman of the Year after setting a new team freshman record with 798 rushing yards. He ended the season as the conference's sixth leading rusher and top freshman producer. A third team freshman All-American pick by the Sporting News, Doster was also fourth in the SEC in all-purpose yardage.

The Tampa native started the season as a reserve, but quickly found a substantial role after a season-ending injury to junior Ronald Hatcher. Doster earned his first collegiate start halfway through the season after another tailback, sophomore Norval McKenzie, was injured prior to the Commodores' encounter with Middle Tennessee. He rewarded Vanderbilt coaches by rushing for more than 100 yards in his two following starts.

Doster burst onto the SEC scene in a road contest at Ole Miss. After scoring his first collegiate touchdown in the first half, Doster led a huge fourth-quarter rally by the Commodores. With the Rebels up 38-17, Doster sparked the Vanderbilt comeback with a 95-yard kickoff return, then added several first-down carries to ignite a pair of other touchdown drives enabling the Commodores to tie the score, 38-38.

Doster established SEC and team marks in the performance. He smashed the SEC record kickoff return yardage in a single game (243 yards) and the Vanderbilt mark for all-purpose yards in a single game (344 yards). It was the highest single-game total in the SEC last year.

Before his responsibilities increased at tailback, Doster was among the nation's best kickoff returners. His 25.7-yard average was the highest production by a Vanderbilt athlete in 58 years. He ended the season second in the SEC to Kentucky All-American Derek Abney and 17th in the NCAA. Doster did not return kicks in the squad's last four games.

Doster enters the 2003 preseason as the No. 1 tailback in the Commodores' Power I alignment, though he is expected to be pushed by McKenzie, who returned to full strength this spring from the injury.



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