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Projected Starting WR C.J. Duncan Out for 2015 With a Leg Injury

Vanderbilt will be without its leading wide receiver from 2014 this fall. Sophomore C.J. Duncan will likely miss the entire 2015 season after suffering a non-contact leg injury in practice on Wednesday.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt's leading wide receiver from 2014 won't be playing in 2015. Sophomore C.J. Duncan will miss the upcoming season due to a leg injury suffered during a non-contact situation on Wednesday.

Here's what Commodore coach Derek Mason had to say about his young athlete:

"I know C.J. is disappointed with the injury, and we share his disappointment," Mason said. "He's one of our most versatile and proven offensive performers, but even more than that, C.J. is very much a team-oriented player. As he recuperates, C.J. will be an encouraging and helpful presence to the receiving corps.

"We have several talented receivers on the roster with the ability to contribute more significantly to our offense. We expect them to step up to this challenge," Mason added.

Duncan led all wideouts with 441 receiving yards and four touchdowns last fall. He also helped bail Vanderbilt out against UMass with this incredible catch:

The Commodores failed to make an official diagnosis, but a non-contact lower leg injury and the prognosis of a missed season points to an ACL tear. Duncan had already redshirted during his first year on campus, so unless he applies for a medical waiver in 2018, it's likely that this injury will drain a year of his eligibility. He had been penciled in as one of Vanderbilt's starting receivers next to Latevius Rayford, though that position wasn't etched in stone.

Duncan will be missed, but his 2014 numbers suggest that he had a stronger rapport with quarterbacks like Patton Robinette, Wade Freebeck, and Stephen Rivers than he did with Johnny McCrary. Duncan averaged only two receptions per game in the contests where McCrary, the current clubhouse leader in the battle for the 'Dores starting QB position, threw the majority of the team's passes. In seven other games, he averaged nearly a full reception and 20 more receiving yards per contest.

Johnny McCrary's 2014 Targets as Primary Passer
Rec Yards TD Rec/Game Yards/Game
Latevius Rayford 18 175 1 4.5 43.75
Steven Scheu 17 194 2 4.25 48.5
Davis Dudchock 13 208 1 3.25 52
C.J. Duncan 8 119 2 2 29.75
Caleb Scott 3 57 0 0.75 14.25
Kris Kentera 2 31 0 0.5 7.75
Chandler Dorrell 2 19 0 0.5 4.75
His absence will provide young players like Trent Sherfield and Caleb Scott the opportunity to step up. Sherfield has had a strong start to 2015, and the converted defensive back could be an dynamic offensive presence if he can earn more snaps this fall. He had just one reception and three carries (but a 13.3 yards/rush average) in limited action last season.