Open Practices

Mason invites Commodore fans to spring drills

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt fans will be able to watch their Commodores progress through spring practice.

Head coach Derek Mason announced Thursday that Vanderbilt’s spring practices will be open to Commodore fans, starting with the team’s first session next week.

“I want Commodore Nation to see the progress we make as a football team this spring,” Mason said. “I truly expect us to get better with each practice and I hope our fans will come out to see that improvement for themselves.”

The Commodores will open their seventh spring practice under Mason’s guidance next Tuesday. The team will also practice next Thursday and Friday before taking the following week off for spring break.

The team’s first three practices are expected to start at 7 a.m. at the John Rich Practice Facility on campus. In accordance with NCAA rules, the Commodores will practice in limited gear next week. The squad will move to the nearby indoor practice facility during inclement weather.

Commodore fans can enter the team’s practice complex off Natchez Trace. Limited parking is available on Jess Neely Drive, Vanderbilt Place and in the 25th Avenue Garage (via the Highland Avenue entrance).

The team’s featured spring session, the Black and Gold Spring Game, is scheduled for April 3 in Vanderbilt Stadium.

Markel Receives Hancock/Nipper Award

Cody Markel, a senior on the 2019 Vanderbilt squad who has worked to honor teammate Turner Cockrell over the last 16 months, was named a co-recipient of the 2020 Hancock/Nipper Award on Wednesday. Markel shared the honor, given annually by the Nashville City Civitan club, with Tennessee State student-athlete Josh Green.

Markel, a tight end from Madison, Wisconsin, played in 23 games for the Commodores. He was limited to one appearance in 2019 due to shoulder and knee injuries.

Markel made a greater mark off the field, creating Turner’s Heroes non-profit organization last summer to uplift the lives of young cancer patients and fund innovative pediatric cancer research grants. The effort honors Cockrell, a fellow tight end who lost his battle with melanoma on Nov. 29, 2019.

The non-profit has raised over $100,000 for cancer research grants, including nearly $70,000 in an 82-hour fundraiser held last September in conjunction with Vanderbilt’s home game against LSU.