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August 22, 2012NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Vanderbilt added six new captains for the 2012 football season on Wednesday, bringing the grand number of captains to eight.
Record-setting senior running back Zac Stacy and versatile junior offensive lineman Wesley Johnson join senior quarterback Jordan Rodgers as offensive co-captains. The trio represents both the junior and senior class and comprises 52 career starts.
Redshirt senior defensive end Johnell Thomas and redshirt junior strong safety Javon Marshall join junior defensive end Walker May as defensive co-captains. The group comprises 23 career starts.
Senior inebacker Archibald Barnes and junior kicking specialist Carey Spear will serve as co-captains of the Commodores special teams units.
"The chemistry on this team is as good as any I've been around," Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said on Wednesday. "Those guys are going to make sure our team as a whole is making good choices. I might not have recruited them out of their high schools, but our first month on this campus we were recruiting them and getting them to believe in what we were going to build."
Stacy earned second team All-SEC honors in 2011 after rushing for a Vanderbilt single-season record 1,193 yards and 14 touchdowns, finishing third in rushing in the league overall. The Alabama native enters his final year in the Black and Gold needing just 630 yards from breaking the program's all-time mark for rushing yards, set 33 years ago.
Johnson earned freshman All-American honors in 2010 and continued his strong play during his sophomore season, playing virtually every snap for the Commodores and making starts at each position. Johnson earned SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors after VU's win over Ole Miss last September. He made seven starts at center, four at left tackle and two at left guard.
Rodgers played in all 13 games during his debut season and finished the year with seven straight starts. He finished with a program best 1,949 total yards of offense for a first-year player. The production ranks 14th best overall in school history.
Thomas has played in 34 games at Vanderbilt and made five starts at defensive end in 2011 while sharing work with Walker May. A undersized but effective pass rusher, Thomas registered 26 tackles with four tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.
Marshall emerged as a starter in 2011, splitting time with fellow junior safety Kenny Ladler, and finished 42 tackles and a part of interceptions. The Ohio native has played in 21 games during his Commodore career.
May started eight games in 2011, including the Commodores last seven. He finished with a career-high 30 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.
Barnes played in 13 games last season, earning starting assignments in the team's last nine games. The Florida native registered 59 total tackles including 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and a pair of interceptions including a 100-yard pick for a touchdown against Tennessee. Barnes served as one of the team's most vicious hitters on special teams, creating a pair of turnovers.
Spear served as both a kickoff specialist and place kicker for the Commodores. In eight starts as the kicker, Spear was 4-of-7 on field goal attempts and converted all 12 point-after attempts. He averaged 64.4 yards per kickoff in 2011 with 10 touchbacks. This is the second straight year he has served as a special teams captain for Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt will open the 2012 season on Thursday, August 30th inside Vanderbilt Stadium against the South Carolina Gamecocks. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT and will air on ESPN.