Vanderbilt running back Zac Stacy will head to St. Louis to continue his NFL career as the Rams selected the two-time All-SEC member with the 160th overall pick in the 5th Round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Stacy, Vanderbilt's all-time leading rusher with 3,143 career yards, is the first running back selected by the Rams in this year's draft and fourth offensive player taken in an effort to improve a St. Louis team that went 7-8-1 during Jeff Fisher's debut season in 2012.
"I'm very happy for Zac. He's a team-oriented winner who has enjoyed a tremendous career, consistently performing at a very high level against the best competition in college football," Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin said in a statement on Saturday. "Zac will go down as the greatest running back ever at Vanderbilt.
"But even more than what Zac has accomplished on the field, he is an outstanding young man, and acredit to his family, teammates and coaches, and this university," Franklin added.
One of the most gifted backs in Commodore history, Stacy battled a few injuries during his first two years in Nashville but still rushed for 809 yards while averaging nearly 5 yards per carry. He excelled under Franklin and his coaching staff over the next two years.
In 2011, he set a single-season rushing record with 1,193 yards and another record of 14 touchdowns. His play spearheaded a Vanderbilt revival that landed the Commodores in just its second bowl game since 1982.
As a captain in 2012, Stacy nearly matched his junior year by rushing for 1,141 yards and 10 touchdowns as the Commodores matched a program record 9 wins and captured the Music City Bowl championship with a dominating victory over North Carolina State. Stacy was named the MVP of the bowl game after rushing for 107 yards and a score. Vanderbilt finished ranked 20th in the Top 25 for the first time since 1948.
Stacy was the first Commodore running back to ever rush for back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons and the first-ever Vanderbilt back to be selected All-SEC by both the associated press and coaches in back-to-back seasons.
The Alabama native also set a new Commodore record with 30 career touchdowns and holds both the longest and second longest touchdown runs in Vanderbilt history including a 90-yard touchdown against Wake Forest last November.
Stacy impressed during the NFL Combine in February and participated in the East-West Shrine game in January.
He is the first Vanderbilt back to be taken in the NFL Draft since Corey Harris in 1992. He becomes the 17th Commodore to be taken in the NFL Draft since 2000. Green Bay selected Casey Hayward in the second round last year and Indianapolis chose Tim Fugger in the seventh round near the end of the 2012 draft. Hayward went on to have one of the NFL's best rookie seasons last fall.
Stacy will join other young backs Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead in the St. Louis backfield this summer. The Rams are trying to replace the product of franchise record-setter and three-time Pro Bowler Steven Jackson who signed with the Atlanta Falcons this off-season.
Stacy will also join former Vanderbilt offensive lineman Chris Williams on the Rams roster. Williams recently resigned with the franchise.