Steen and His Sergeant

Vanderbilt lineman tells story of heroic grandfather

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt third-year offensive lineman Tyler Steen is connected to a family story that symbolizes Memorial Day.

A starting tackle from Miami, Florida, Steen spoke with Vanderbilt beat reporter Adam Sparks of the Tennessean about his late grandfather, Sgt. Rodney M. Davis, who became a Vietnam War hero in the late 1960s. With his platoon entrenched and under attack, Davis was killed when he threw himself on an enemy grenade. Davis’ bravery saved the lives of several fellow Marines in his platoon. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces.

“What my grandfather did took a lot of courage and I definitely take pride in him,” Steen told Sparks. “He saved a lot of lives by giving up his own.”

Steen began his Vanderbilt career as a defensive tackle where he played four games in 2018. As a redshirt freshman in 2019, Steen started all 12 games at offensive right tackle. He returns this fall as the Commodores’ likely starting left tackle.

To read more about Steen and the story of his grandfather, click here.