Even in defeat, Vanderbilt freshman earns SEC weekly award

Monday, November 23, 2009 at 2:45pm

It’s rare that the Southeastern Conference gives one of its weekly football awards to a player whose team lost the previous Saturday.

Vanderbilt’s Warren Norman put up numbers rarely – in some cases never – seen, however, throughout the season and conference officials apparently decided they could not overlook him anymore.

Norman, a freshman running back/kickoff returner, was named the SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday, two days after the Commodores’ season-ending 31-16 loss at Tennessee, their eighth straight defeat and 10th overall.

In so doing, he became the first VU player this season to earn one of the six awards handed out each week by the conference office.

The week’s other five award winners, including UT’s Wes Brown (Defensive Lineman of the Week) all were from schools that won on Saturday.

“I’m tremendously proud of Warren, and everything he accomplished during his first year in a Vanderbilt uniform,” coach Bobby Johnson said in a release from the school. “He showed what a fantastic and versatile playmaker he is.”

Norman had 152 all-purpose yards at Tennessee, which raised his season total to an SEC freshman record 1,941. Herschel Walker held the previous mark of 1,827, set in 1980.

His total also is the highest ever for Vanderbilt and the 11th-highest in conference history.

He currently is first among all freshmen and 12th in the NCAA with an average of 162.8 all-purpose yards per game.

“I’m also proud that Warren seemed to improve with each game, and was doing everything possible to help us win,” Johnson said. “That says a lot about his character and commitment to this team.

“I look forward to seeing much more of Warren in the coming years.”