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Vandy’s Bowl Challenge Just Got A Little Bit Tougher With Injury To QB Carta-Samuels

austyn-carta-samuels-throwsVanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels has had surgery on his left knee to repair a torn ACL, ending the senior’s career and making James Franklin’s job a bit tougher heading into bowl season.  Carta-Samuels played three games with the ACL tear  and deserves massive praise for being so selfless.  According to Jeff Lockridge of The Tennessean, the coach was “emotional” and “teary-eyed” while addressing his quarterback’s status.

“Really proud of that kid,” Franklin said.  ”He rehabbed and was able to come back and was able to get a brace that he was able to practice and play in.  He put the team above himself, and then he had surgery right when the season ended, and he’s going to try to get ready for his Pro Day.”

One must assume that Franklin and team physicians determined that Carta-Samuels was not in danger of doing any further damage to his knee by playing on it.

With Carta-Samuels out, the Commodores will turn to backup Patton Robinette.  The redshirt freshman is more of a runner than a passer, which will likely impact Vandy’s gameplan against Houston in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

For the season, Carta-Samuels was 193-0f-281 (68.7%) for 2,268 yards, 11 TDs and nine interceptions.  Robinette was 40-of-69 (58.0%) for 488 yards, two scores and three picks.  He did run for six additional touchdowns.  Vanderbilt defeated Georgia and Florida with Robinette at quarterback, but they also lost at Texas A&M.  When Carta-Samuels returned against Kentucky, Tennessee and Wake Forest — all wins — Robinette continued to be used as an occasional change-of-pace quarterback.

Still, going from a two-quarterback attack with an established passer to a one-QB attack with a so-so passer won’t be easy against quality competition.  If the Commodores defeat 8-4 Houston it will be just the team’s third win over a winning team in the past two years.  Also, Franklin will have to make sure his team is up for Birmingham’s BBVA Compass Bowl.  Since Vandy’s holiday destination was announced, VU fans have complained loudly and consistently about their team’s trip.  They now need to hope that their moaning hasn’t impacted their team’s view of the game.

We would expect Franklin to actually use the gripes as a motivation for his team.  ”We deserved better, now let’s go out and prove it.”  They’ll just have to do so with one half of the quarterback tandem that led them to their last three victories.

 

 

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Vandy Rape Case Not Going Away; Prosecutor (A Tennessee Fan) Says He’s Not Protecting The Dores’ QB

investigationIt’s a story that both Vanderbilt officials and fans must be praying will finally come to an end.  But thanks to a new report on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” last summer’s rape case is back in the headlines.

Four Vanderbilt football players — since booted from the team — stand accused of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery for a sexual assault in a Vandy dorm last June.  One of those players also faces charges of unlawful photography and tampering with evidence.  All four have pled not guilty, though one is now open to a plea deal, according to his attorney.

A fifth Commodore player — receiver Chris Boyd — was also dismissed from the team when he admitted to helping cover up the rape as part of his own plea bargain.

During Boyd’s plea hearing in September, texts from the former receiver were read aloud in court.  One of them identified now-injured Vandy quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels as having taken part in the cover up.  Boyd’s message said: “me Carta and Vanderwal and Vandenburg helped us move her out of the hallway.”  The unconscious girl was lying in the hall of a Vanderbilt dorm when she was moved by the group of players.

Dillon van der Wal is a Vanderbilt tight end.  Brandon Vandenburg was one of the four players dismissed from the team after being charged with taking part in the rape.

Van der Wal has one catch on the season.  Carta-Samuels was injured in the Georgia game and missed last week’s game at Texas A&M.

Continuing with the back story, four days after Boyd’s hearing the Davidson Country DA’s office said: “based upon the evidence collected to date, Boyd wrongly identified student Austyn Carta-Samuels as someone who participated in helping move the victim.  Carta-Samuels and Dillon van der Wal are both listed as witnesses in the rape case against four former Vanderbilt students.  Van der Wal and another student were involved in moving the victim from the hall to a dorm room, but that act alone does not constitute a crime.”

Confused yet?  Well, so is just about everyone else.

How or why would Boyd — a receiver — misidentify Carta-Samuels — a teammate and his quarterback?  Why is Carta-Samuels listed as a witness if he was not involved?  Why so much focus on Carta-Samuels when another player — van der Wal — is still on the team after helping to move the victim?

Those issues and a “possible coverup” were the focus of this piece from “Anderson Cooper 360.”

Asked point blank in the report if the DA’s office is protecting Carta-Samuels, Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman laughed off the idea before saying, “Matter of fact, I’m a Tennessee fan so I wouldn’t be protecting a Vanderbilt quarterback.”

Thurman also said that he believes he knows how/why Boyd sent his “incorrect” text.  He said that information will eventually come out during the trials of the four ex-Commodores accused of rape.

Until then, the DA’s decision to maintain secrecy in this case — specifically with regards to Carta-Samuels’ possible involvement — will only ensure that the story won’t go away and that questions will continue to be asked.

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Vanderbilt Wide Receiver Chris Boyd Dismissed From Team

mrsec-breaking-newsVanderbilt has dismissed wide receiver Chris Boyd from the football team.  Here’s the statement from the university:

 

Vanderbilt’s athletic administration, in conjunction with its head football coach, today dismissed Chris Boyd from the university’s football team and athletic program. The action came after an ongoing review that included information disclosed during a hearing Sept. 13 in Davidson County Criminal Court.

The review concluded that Mr. Boyd’s admitted actions are clearly inconsistent with the high standards of behavior expected of our student-athletes.

 

Charged with a felony accessory after the fact in a campus rape case, Boyd cut a deal with prosecutors last week that gave him a misdemeanor charge that can be wiped from his record in a year.  He also has to testify against four ex-teammates.

Four ex-Vanderbilt players are accused of raping an unconscious female student in June.   At the hearing last week, deputy district attorney general  Tom Thurman said in court that Boyd, Vanderbilt tight end Dillon van der Wal and starting quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels carried the partially nude woman from a hallway where she had been dumped back into the room of one of the men prosecutors say sexually assaulted her.

Boyd had 50 catches for 774 yards for Vanderiblt last season.

Update: Prosecutors now say Carta-Samuels was “misidentified” as having been on the scene after the attack. According to a spokeswoman for the DA’s Office, “based upon the evidence collected to date, Boyd wrongly identified student Austyn Carta-Samuels as someone who participated in helping move the victim.”

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Football And Academics: QB Carta-Samuels Pitches Vandy

gfx - they said itAustyn Carta-Samuels is on his way to becoming the next starting quarterback at Vanderbilt.  How he’s gotten to that point is what pleases the transfer most.

Carta-Samuels transferred to Vanderbilt in 2011 after spending two seasons at Wyoming.  In between he passed 22 credit hours into six months of work at a junior college.  Last season he played in six games for Vandy, the school his grandfather attended.  Now the former Freshman of the Year in the Mountain West Conference is ready to lead the Commodore football team in his senior season.

Despite his past accomplishments, Carta-Samuels says nothing was given to him in Nashville.  The fact that he earned his way into the school and is now on the verge of earning the starter’s job is what makes him proudest:

 

“I think something that is great about Vanderbilt that I would love more people to understand is you don’t get gifts here as a football player.  Me playing football and me having started 24 games and being a captain in another conference, it didn’t matter to this school.  They didn’t care.  That was exciting for me because I did this all on my own.  I got here with no football help and got accepted academically…

Really, I hope nobody (at Wyoming) can fault me for where I am now — at one of the top schools in America with one of the best football opportunities in the country.  I had a lot of fun there with a bunch of great people in Wyoming and a good coaching staff.  I just decided there was going to be somewhere else better suited for me academically and football-wise.”

 

Carta-Samuels chose Vandy over Colorado and Arizona.  His promotion of VU and its football program sound like a recruiting pitch from head coach James Franklin himself.  Now, Franklin isn’t the first Commodore coach to tell recruits that they can get a first-class education and be a part of building a football tradition on Nashville’s West End.  But he clearly sells that message with greater success than his predecessors.

And the more players like Carta-Samuels echo their head coach’s pitch, the easier recruiting will become at Vanderbilt.

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