Injury at practice might force Vanderbilt to start freshman at safety

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 10:08pm

Vanderbilt safety Jay Fullam went down with an ankle sprain at practice on Wednesday. His status for Saturday's game at Ole Miss was not immediately known.

If Fullam, the starting free safety, can't play, the Commodores likely will turn to one of two freshmen -- Kenny Ladler or Andre Simmons -- in their first road game of the season. Ladler has seen action in each of the first two games and is the most logical choice, according to coach Robbie Caldwell. Simmons is listed as a strong safety but has practiced some at free safety.

Fullam spent the second half of practice on his back with his right ankle elevated and iced. He eventually walked himself off the field and did not appear to be in any type of excruciating pain.

The redshirt-freshman out of Chattanooga has been making noise for the Commodores on the field this year.

He recorded a team-high (tied with linebacker Chris Marve) 12 tackles against Northwestern. He also forced two fumbles in the game and had one tackle for a loss of yardage. Against LSU, he had five tackles and snuck past the line to hurry quarterback Jordan Jefferson once.

His most infamous play is still the controversial personal foul he received for allegedly hitting Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa too high in the last minutes of the game. After repeated viewing, the hit appeared to be shoulder-to-shoulder. The call, on third down, extended the Wildcats' final drive.

As a result VU did not get a chance at a final possession and lost 23-21. The Big Ten, who’s officiating crew made the call, has since issued an apology to VU regarding the call.