If Casey Hayward keeps progressing, the Vanderbilt cornerback could be joining several other former Commodores in the NFL.
Two Vanderbilt products currently hold jobs as defensive backs. Former All-American D.J. Moore is in his second year with the Chicago Bears, and Myron Lewis is a rookie for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bears have six former Commodores on their roster. The most notable is quarterback Jay Cutler, who is in his fifth NFL season.
Earl Bennett is a third-year wide receiver for the Bears. He had 54 receptions, 717 receiving yards and two touchdowns last season and has 16 receptions and 135 yards through six games this season.
Eight-year veteran linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer was put on the season-ending injured reserve in September due to a concussion syndrome, and it has been reported that he is considering retirement.
Left guard Chris Williams, in his third year, missed three games due to a hamstring injury but was back starting in a loss to Seattle on Oct. 17.
The Bears also signed third-year linebacker Marcus Buggs to the practice squad in September.
Elsewhere, the Tennessee Titans have Jovan Haye (defensive tackle) and Jamie Winborn (linebacker) on their roster.
Jonathan Goff is a third-year linebacker for the New York Giants and has 31 tackles and a sack this year.
The Kansas City Chiefs’ second-year safety Reshard Langford has been inactive with an ankle injury.
Center Bradley Vierling (Jacksonville), offensive tackle Thomas Welch (Minnesota) and linebacker Curtis Gatewood (Arizona) all have signed with practice squads.
That brings the grand total to 14 ex-Commodores currently making a living in the NFL. And, of course, that has been a big selling point for Vanderbilt when its coaches hit the recruiting trail.
“We sing those praises of guys that have been here and gone on before us,” coach Robbie Caldwell said. “So we want to keep that tradition going.”