Vanderbilt senior corner Casey Hayward has been named a second team All-American by Yahoo! Sports and Rivals.com. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound standout is one of eight defensive backs from the Southeastern Conference to be selected to the three tier All-American list, highlighting the league's defensive dominance once again.
Hayward was also named a second team Walter Camp All-American on Thursday. The SEC secondary was also dominant on 122nd edition of the Walter Camp honor, as five of the league's defensive backs were featured on its two tier team. Walter Camp is the nation's oldest All-American team honor.
Hayward registered 54 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, five interceptions and nine pass breakups during his final regular season with the Commodores. His five interceptions tied for third in the SEC and 11th nationally. His 14 total passes defended tied for first in the SEC and 14th nationally.
The Georgia native was an instrumental force in Vanderbilt's strong defensive turnaround in 2011. After finishing the 2010 season ranked 93rd nationally in total defense, the Commodores climbed 19th overall in 2011. The Commodore secondary had a big hand in the turnaround as the group posted 17 interceptions as a whole and returned those picks for a SEC-best 395 yards and four touchdowns. Hayward's interception return for a touchdown against Connecticut was a key moment in the Commodores season, securing a 24-20 victory in Week Two and setting in motion a 3-0 start. His play against talented quarterbacks such as Arkansas' Tyler Wilson and Georgia's Aaron Murray, was also key in near upsets by the Commodores.
A three-year starter, Hayward has become the Commodores all-time leader in passes defended with 43 combined interceptions and pass breakups. His 13 career interceptions have him tied for second all-time at Vanderbilt.
Hayward was named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award in October, an honor that went to LSU corner and first team Yahoo! Sports All-American Morris Claiborne on Thursday night.
Hayward is the first Commodore to receive All-American recognition since D.J. Moore was named an All-American by several publications including Rivals.com in 2008.
Both SEC Champion LSU and second ranked Alabama placed three players on the Yahoo! Sports All-American team. The league as a whole placed 19 different players on the team and 20 positions.
Player of the Year honors went to Baylor quarterback Robert Griffith III while defensive honors went to Mathieu.
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder was named the Coach of the Year after leading the Wildcats to a surprising 10-2 season and second place finish in the Big 12. Kansas State was picked to finish eighth prior to the 2011 season.
Clemson's Chad Morris was named the Offensive Coordinator of the Year. LSU's John Chavis was named the Defensive Coordinator of the Year.
Hayward was joined by Rambo on the Walter Camp second team while Mathieu, Claiborne and Barron received first team honors. Fifteen players from the SEC were named Walter Camp All-Americans.
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was named the Walter Camp Player of the Year.
The Walter Camp All-America team is selected by the head coaches and sports information directors of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools and certified by Marcum LLP, a New Haven-based accounting firm. Walter Camp Football Foundation President John Marks was pleased with the voting participation.
Walter Camp, "The Father of American football," first selected an All-America team in 1889. Camp - a former Yale University athlete and football coach - is also credited with developing play from scrimmage, set plays, the numerical assessment of goals and tries and the restriction of play to eleven men per side. The Walter Camp Football Foundation - a New Haven-based all-volunteer group - was founded in 1967 to perpetuate the ideals of Camp and to continue the tradition of selecting annually an All-America team.