Tennessee's top kicker chooses Commodores

K/P Bryant Hahnfeldt, Nashville-MBA

Nashville-MBA kicker Bryant Hahnfeldt received a "grayshirt" scholarship offer over the weekend on his official visit to Vanderbilt, and after talking it over with his high school coaches and placing a call to Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee, he made a commitment to the Commodores. He will sign on Feb. 2, but will not report to school until January, 2006, unless a scholarship opens up in the meantime.

Nashville-MBA kicker Bryant Hahnfeldt received a "grayshirt" scholarship offer over the weekend on his official visit to Vanderbilt, and after talking it over with his high school coaches and placing a call to Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee, he made a commitment to the Commodores. He will sign on Feb. 2, but will not report to school until January, 2006, unless a scholarship opens up in the meantime.

"I'm pumped," said Hahnfeldt. "It's a great relief to me, because now I don't have to wonder where I'm going to college. It's an awesome feeling."

Hahnfeldt, who last month won the American General Mr. Football award as the top kicker in the state, was also being strongly encouraged to walk on at Tennessee. Phillip Fulmer had spent two hours on the MBA campus last Thursday, encouraging Hahnfeldt to become a non-scholarship athlete with the Volunteers.

But by Sunday afternoon, Hahnfeldt had left his Vanderbilt visit with an offer in hand from the Commodores. "We were hoping Vandy would give me an offer. We figured they might," he said. "We had a meeting with Coach Johnson, and we talked it over."

Then it was decision time.

"Bryant sat down and talked to us and to his coaches, and finally decided that Vandy would be his best bet," said Bryant's father, Edward Hahnfeldt.

"Very few players get the chance to play at the next level. That's a dream that very few people ever realize. So you've got to look beyond football.

"When you take football out of the equation, it's not much of a choice. When you look at the two schools and the value of the degree, Vanderbilt comes out on top. We're very happy with his decision."

The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder handled all the kicking chores for the Big Red, punting for a 39-yard average, hitting 17-of-23 field goals, and consistently placing his kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. At Vanderbilt, he will have a chance to compete for all three jobs.

Vanderbilt now has 22 commitments for its Feb. 2 signing class. Verbal commitments are non-binding.

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For a complete list of Vanderbilt's commitments for 2005, click here.

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