The Vanderbilt Commodores saw few bright spots during Derek Mason’s first season. The Commodores finished 3-9 (0-8 SEC) and struggled in several areas. However, cornerback and return specialist Darrius Sims was one of the few exceptions.

Sims led the SEC with 760 kick return yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore added 33 yards on six punt returns.

Sims’ totals give an indication of just how bad Vanderbilt was in 2014. His 31 kickoff returns led the SEC, with the Commodores allowing plenty of scores all season. His punt attempts were limited,┬áseeing the meager share of split attempts with Trey Ellis.

But Sims was impressive nonetheless, providing a historic performance against South Carolina in Week 4. The sophomore recorded 217 yards and two touchdowns on three kickoffs, keeping Vanderbilt in contention through three quarters.

The Commodores even tried to work Sims into its offense on several plays, recording 822 all-purpose yards on 42 plays. The return specialist may be the best under-the-radar player in the SEC and should continue to see production in his third season.

OPENSHAW KICKS THROUGH AS FRESHMAN

Tommy Openshaw went 8-of-11 on field goal attempts, recording a 72.7 average. The freshman was ninth in the conference in field goal percentage and 12th in field goals made.

Openshaw also handled kickoff duties, recording 1,516 yards on 26 kickoffs for a 58.3 average. He totaled eight touchbacks for a 30.1 percentage.

COOKE STAYS BUSY ON FOURTH DOWN

To no one’s surprise, punter Colby Cooke was busy on fourth downs. The sophomore made 66 attempts for 2,796 yards, a 42.4 average, 233 yards per game and 5.5 punts per game.

Cooke had a season-high eight punts for 358 yards against Kentucky in Week 5, averaging 44.6 yards per punt. He made at least five attempts in 10 games in 2014.