Big Ten

Northwestern kick returner Solomon Vault expected to miss entire 2017 season

Northwestern is expected to be without kick returner and wide receiver Solomon Vault for the entirety of the upcoming 2017 season, according to a Friday report from Inside NU.

A Northwestern spokesman told the site that Vault underwent surgery for a lower-body injury and is expected to redshirt this fall.

Vault took back four kickoffs for touchdowns in his first three seasons, racking up 1,505 kick-return yards. Last season, he returned 23 kicks for 560 yards and a touchdown.

In addition to his value as a kick returner, though, Vault was also expected to play a larger role in the passing game this season. He transitioned from running back to wide receiver ahead of last season and caught 15 passes for 164 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2016.

While the Wildcats have plenty of other options at wide receiver, it's a significant wrinkle in their challenge to replace the production of Austin Carr, last year's Big Ten Wide Receiver of the Year, who is on to a pro career in the NFL.

If Vault does redshirt this season, it means he will have one year of NCAA eligibility remaining.