Vanderbilt Commodores

19 Apr 1991:  Muhammad Ali looks on during a bout between Evander Holyfield and George Foreman at Caesar''s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mandatory Credit: Barry Jarvinan  /Allsport
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Muhammad Ali’s grandson commits to play football for Cal

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Earlier this year, the nation shared in Biaggio Ali Walsh‘s grief over the passing of his iconic grandfather.  On Sunday, Ali Walsh shared with the nation his decision on his future in football.

On his personal Twitter account this weekend, Ali Walsh revealed that he has decided to verbally commit to play his college football at Cal.  In the tweet, Ali Walsh included a photo of himself with, among others, Golden Bears head coach Sonny Dykes.

Ali Walsh’s grandfather is the legendary Muhammad Ali, who died this past June.

A three-star 2017 prospect, Ali Walsh is rated by 247Sports.com as the No. 11 all-purpose running back in the country and the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Nevada.  A product of national power Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School, Ali Walsh was named the Gatorade Nevada Player of the Year last fall, rushing for 2,451 yards and 36 touchdowns while averaging 12.1 yards per carry.

In addition to Cal, Ali Walsh held offers from, among others, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Louisville, UNLV and Vanderbilt.

Vandy loses starting lineman to season-ending injury for second straight year

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Andrew Jelks simply can’t catch a break on the injury front.

Thursday, Vanderbilt announced that Jelks would miss the entire 2016 season because of a severe knee injury.  The offensive tackle sustained the injury earlier this week in practice.

On Aug. 20 of last year, it was reported that Jelks had suffered a significant knee injury, subsequently determined to be a torn ACL, and missed the entire 2015 season.  As a fifth-year senior, Jelks could petition the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility that he could use in 2017.  It’s unclear if that’s the tack Jelks will take.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Jelks started 22 games at left tackle In 2013 and 2014. He started nine games in earning Freshman All-America honors in 2013. He followed that up the following year by starting all 12 games.

In addition to Jelks, Vandy also announced that quarterback Shawn Stankavage will be sidelined for all of 2016 as well because of an injury.

Like Jelks, Stankavage will be missing his second straight season because of an injury.  Unlike Jelks, Stankavage would’ve opened the season No. 3 on the depth chart.

Vandy announces four-game series with Colorado State

FORT COLLINS, CO - OCTOBER 10:  The Colorado State Rams take the field to face the Boise State Broncos at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Rams 41-10.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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The only question is, will Vanderbilt be facing the Mountain West Colorado State or the Big 12 Colorado State?

Regardless, both football programs announced Thursday that the two sides have reached an agreement of a future four-game series.  The first game will be played Sept. 26, 2020, in Nashville, with the Rams also visiting Music City Sept. 27, 2025.

The Commodores will travel to Fort Collins Sept. 11, 2021, and Sept. 26, 2026.

“We have high goals and aspirations for our program, to provide our students with the experience of playing against the best possible competition during their time as a Ram,” said CSU head coach Mike Bobo in a statement. “At home and away, our team and our fans can anticipate an aggressive approach to scheduling future opponents.”

The 2020 game will mark the first-ever between the two programs.  The 2021 game will serve as Vandy’s first in the state of Colorado since squaring off with Air Force in 1979.

Ex-Vandy football player sentenced to 15 years in rape case

Former Vanderbilt football player Cory Batey sits during a break on day two of his trial in Judge Monte Watkins' courtroom in the A.A. Birch building in Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Samuel M. Simpkins/The Tennessean via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Samuel M. Simpkins/The Tennessean via AP
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Found guilty of aggravated rape in April, a former Vanderbilt football received his sentence earlier Friday.

According to the Associated Press, Cory Batey was sentenced by a criminal judge to 15 years in prison for the on-campus rape of an unconscious female student three years ago.  Batey could’ve faced up to 25 years in prison as a result of the conviction.

In January of 2015, Batey and another co-defendant, Brandon Vandenburg, were convicted on multiple counts in connection to a 2013 rape on the university’s campus.  Five months later, a judge declared a mistrial in the case.

Last month, Vandenburg was convicted again after the retrial; he is awaiting sentencing.

Vandenburg, Batey and two other former Vandy football players, Brandon Banks and Jaborian ‘Tip’ McKenzie, were initially charged Aug. 9, 2013, with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery each after a police investigation determined that the four had raped an unconscious woman.

On June 28 of 2013, Vanderbilt announced that four unnamed players had been indefinitely suspended amid reports that the players were connected to an alleged sex crimes case.  The next day, Vandy officials further clarified the players’ statuses, releasing a statement announcing the dismissals of the four.  That release further added that none of the four will be permitted to return to campus without permission from the office of student conduct and academic integrity.

Banks and McKenzie have pleaded not guilty to their charges and are still awaiting trial.

2015 finalists Leonard Fournette, Christian McAffrey part of Walker Award watch list

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07:  Leonard Fournette #7 of the LSU Tigers runs the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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With 2015 winner Derrick Henry of Alabama off to the NFL, there will be a new winner of the Doak Walker Award in 2016.  Based on the projected performances of a couple of other finalists from a year ago, this year’s winner could very well come from the group below.

Thursday, the PwC SMU Athletic Forum announced a watch list that contains a whopping 76 players.  The Walker Award has ben handed out annually since 1990 to the nation’s top running back and is named in honor of former SMU great Doak Walker.

Two finalists for last year’s award have made the cut this preseason — LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey.

The SEC led all conferences with 13 watch listers, followed by the Big 12 (9), Big 12 (9), Pac-12 (9), ACC (8), Mountain West (6), Sun Belt (6), MAC (5), Conference USA (4) and AAC (3).  There were also four from independents (BYU, Notre Dame).

Those two independents were two of the 13 schools with two running backs listed, the others being Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Cal, Duke, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, USC, Western Kentucky and Western Michigan.

Below is the complete 2016 Doak Walker Award preseason watch list:

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