Vanderbilt's Azubike 'growing tremendously,' earns SEC weekly award

Caleb Azubike makes the type of plays that are difficult to overlook, and Vanderbilt’s sophomore defensive end rarely – if ever – has been more noticeable that he was in Saturday’s victory over Florida.

He had a career-high two sacks in addition to two and a half tackles for losses, two quarterback hurries and four tackles.

The Southeastern Conference certainly took note and Monday named him its defensive lineman of the week.

“That’s huge,” senior defensive end Walker May said. “Especially in the SEC, which is a defensive line league, pretty much. There’s a lot of good players that play defensive line and for him to get that honor, that’s huge for him.”

The only other Vanderbilt player to win one of the SEC’s weekly awards this season is left tackle Wesley Johnson, who was named offensive lineman of the week following the Commodores’ victory over Georgia.

Azubike, a 6-foot-4, 265-pounder out of McGavock High School, now has four sacks for the season, which ties the number he had last season as a true freshman. His 10 tackles for loss already are more than twice as many as he had in all of 2012 (four and a half) and his 30 total tackles exceed last season’s total (21).

“A lot of times you have to be careful because if you just look at sacks at tackles for loss, which he’s been very disruptive in those two areas, you still have to make sure you’re doing your job,” coach James Franklin said. “Sometimes as a defensive lineman it might just be plugging a cap or containing and forcing it back into linebackers or [other] defensive linemen.

“I think he’s growing tremendously and I’m very, very proud of him. But he still has a long ways to go and has tremendous upside. To me, that’s exciting about Caleb as well.”