Vanderbilt plays Kentucky in an NCAA football game at Vanderbilt Stadium Saturday Nov. 11, 2017, in Nashville. Photo by Joe Howel

Football

Offensive backfield features Shurmur, deep running back corps

Shurmur, Blasingame, Vaughn, Wakefield, Crawford highlight backfield

86091The Vanderbilt offensive backfield features one of the most prolific quarterbacks in team history and a bevy of talented running backs ready to showcase their skills in a balanced Commodore attack.
 
Quarterback Kyle Shurmur enters his final season within reach of virtually every Commodore career passing mark. The senior also be expected to efficiently direct the balanced Commodore offense managed by Andy Ludwig, who enters his fourth season as offensive coordinator.

Shurmur, a preseason candidate for the Walter Camp and Johnny Unitas awards, is coming off one of the finest seasons ever by a Vanderbilt quarterback. In 2017, he smashed a school record by throwing for 26 touchdowns.
 
Shurmur also passed for 2,823 yards last year. It ranks as the third-highest season total ever by a Vanderbilt signal caller.
 
The Commodores lack Southeastern Conference experience behind Shurmur. Sophomore transfer Mo Hasan and freshman Allan Walters are competing for the top reserve role behind Shurmur.
 
At running back, several talented prospects are ready to face the challenge of replacing all-time leading rusher Ralph Webb, who is currently competing for a roster position with the New England Patriots.
 
Khari Blasingame, in his fifth year with the program, is the most experienced Commodore returnee at running back. A physical back, Blasingame has rushed for 596 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns as Webb's top reserve the last two years.

Commodore fans are excited to see junior Ke'Shawn Vaughn in action this fall. The Nashville native transferred from Illinois, where he rushed for 1,024 yards and nine touchdowns during a two-year stint with the Illini. In 2015, Vaughn was named the Big Ten Conference Newcomer of the Year after rushing for 723 yards and six touchdowns.
 
Josh Crawford (R-Jr.) and Jamauri Wakefield (So.) also have impressed during preseason camp while competing for a significant role in the rushing game. Vanderbilt also added talented Ja'Veon Marlow in its 2018 signing class.
 
Jaire George (R-Jr.), Brett Starr (R-Fr.), Josh Higgs (So.) and Will Clark (Fr.) are potential fullbacks on the roster.
 
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