For the second straight season, Vanderbilt will be without its All-SEC left tackle. Andrew Jelks, who missed 2015 after tearing his ACL, will sit out the 2016 season with a knee injury.
Head coach Derek Mason announced Jelks and backup quarterback Shawn Stankavage would miss the upcoming season in a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
Jelks is a fifth-year senior. He can apply for a medical redshirt and return to the team in 2017 if he chooses. Mason told reporters he and the offensive lineman haven’t thought that far ahead yet.
"We stay in the moment," Mason told the Tennessean. "We are not even approaching that."
Losing Jelks will mean another reshuffling of the Commodore offensive line, though the team will return two starting tackles after Justin Skule broke into the lineup last fall. The most likely course of action will be moving senior Will Holden to left tackle and Skule to right. Bailey Granier, Jared Southers, and true freshman Devin Cochran could all see extra snaps in 2016 as well.
Stankavage wasn’t expected to play as big a role for the team this fall. The redshirt sophomore was slotted as Vanderbilt’s third QB, but a solid spring game showing made him a viable candidate to earn playing time in Mason’s historically unstable depth chart. “King Stank” is the team’s most dynamic dual threat passer, and his ability to scramble would have made him a valuable piece of this team’s puzzle not just as a potential starter but as a dynamic scout team presence. True freshman Deuce Wallace will step into his role while he’s hurt.