After a process that spanned both the spring and preseason practice periods, Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson announced that senior Chris Nickson will start at quarterback for the Commodores season opening contest against the Miami Redhawks on Thursday. Johnson made the announcement to the Vanderbilt SID as well as the Nashville City Paper and The Tennessean following Tuesday's practice.
Nickson had been in a competition with 2007 part-time starter Mackenzi Adams for the starting job, but was informed of the coach's decision on Monday. He will enter the season as the team's opening day starter for the third straight year and will be making his 19th career start when the 'Dores take the field in Oxford, Ohio.
The Alabama native has thrown for 2,861 career yards and 21 touchdowns during the last two seasons and has also amassed 921 yards and 11 touchdowns on 220 career carries for the Commodores.
Nickson had a strong 2006 season for Vanderbilt, accounting for over 2,700 total yards of offense and 24 touchdowns. However, his production fell off dramatically in 2007 as he struggled through both injury and inconsistency. He was eventually replaced by Adams as the starter and only played eight games during his junior year.
One of the last games Nickson did see action in was against the Redhawks when they visited Nashville last October. With the Commodores down 13-10, Nickson replaced a injured Adams and rushed for 42 yards and scored the go ahead touchdown in the third quarter. Nickson later led a 50-yard scoring drive to put the game on ice as the Commodores claimed their fifth win of the season.
Vanderbilt is 8-12 in games Nickson has either started or played in during the past two seasons.