Wide receiver Earl Bennett
The 2007 version of Commodore football finished with a 5-7 record, but that was good enough to earn All-SEC honors for four players and attract a suitor for the head coach.
Four Commodores were named to the All-Southeastern Conference team by the league’s 12 coaches. Junior wide receiver Earl Bennett and senior offensive tackle Chris Williams were named first-team All-SEC while senior linebacker Jonathan Goff and sophomore defensive back D.J. Moore were named second-team All-SEC.
“I’m extremely pleased for these four young men,” commented Coach Bobby Johnson, “and I’m glad that the coaches around our league took notice of their production this season. Chris and Jonathan really blossomed here at Vanderbilt and truly finished off their careers in outstanding fashion. What can I say about Earl–his production during the last three years is unmatched and simply remarkable. And I think the league is just beginning to see how good a player D.J. can be.”
This season Bennett became the league’s all-time leading receiver finishing with 236 career receptions, 28 more than the previous record holder. He also became the first receiver in Southeastern Conference history to catch at least 75 passes for the third consecutive season. No other player in SEC history has managed even two consecutive seasons of 75 catches.
Williams is the first Commodore offensive lineman elected first-team All-SEC since Will Wolford in 1984. Goff finished his collegiate career with 304 total tackles, third among active SEC players. Moore finished the season tied for second in the SEC with six interceptions and led all SEC cornerbacks with 63 solo tackles and 83 tackles overall.
Head Coach Bobby Johnson and linebacker Jonathan Goff
Bobby Johnson returns as head football coach for his seventh season after putting down an attempted coaching coup by Duke University. Johnson withdrew his name from consideration for the Duke head coaching vacancy in early December. “I have a deep sense of loyalty to Vanderbilt,” Johnson said of his decision. “We’ve enjoyed some successes in recent years, but all of us want to see more success in the future. That’s the goal as I go further in this position.”
Since the 2005 season began, Johnson’s Commodores have notched 14 victories, tying for the most wins in a three-year span since 1982-84.
“We truly believe Bobby and his staff are an ideal fit for our university,” says David Williams, vice chancellor for university affairs. “Duke correctly identified our coach as an excellent candidate to turn their program around. They saw what we see every day: a man going about his business in a very professional manner.”
Vanderbilt awarded its own team honors at the annual postseason football banquet. Senior Hamilton Holliday, a two-year starter at offensive lineman, received the Dedication Award from Coach Johnson, the only award selected by the coaching staff. Marcus Buggs, a senior outside linebacker, received the Captain’s Award from the team’s three permanent captains. Broderick Stewart, a sophomore defensive end, won the Commodore Hustle Award by a vote of his teammates.