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.