The Nevada Wolf Pack could be without star wideout Elijah Cooks for the remainder of the season.
Cooks, one of 55 receivers named for the preseason watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, could undergo shoulder surgery.
If the shoulder surgery were to occur, it would likely be season-ending due to the truncated eight-game schedule. Nevada Sports Net’s Chris Murray was first with the news.
“He’s got a shoulder injury and there’s a good chance that he’s going to have to have surgery,” Nevada head coach Jay Norvell said. “He’s getting a second opinion. We will not see him this week.”
Cooks missed last week’s game versus UNLV because of the injury. He was suspended for the first half of the season-opener against Wyoming due to a violation of team rules. Cooks only logged two catches for 24 yards before getting injured in the second half.
He was Nevada’s best wideout and arguably its best offensive threat in 2019.
Cooks posted team-highs in receptions (76), receiving yards (926) and touchdowns (8) — all ranking within the top-10 in the Mountain West Conference. His 12.2 receptions per game average ranked fourth in the Mountain West and his 71.2 receiving yards per game placed seventh.
Entering the year, Cooks was ranked No. 3 on my Top-10 returning Nevada players.
Fortunately enough for Nevada, they have a plethora of breakout players at the receiver position.
Through two weeks, Romeo Doubs has been the best receiver in the Mountain West this year. Doubs leads the conference in receptions (19), receptions per game (9.5), receiving yards (336) while tying the conference’s lead in touchdowns (2). He also leads the nation in receiving yards per contest with 168.0.
Against UNLV, Doubs hauled in seven catches for 219 yards — including a 65-yard touchdown.
CARSON STRONG ➡️ ROMEO DOUBS FOR A 65-YARD TOUCHDOWN!!!— Pack Center (@PackCenterNV) November 1, 2020
Doubs has three catches for 153 yards. Strong has six completions (eight attempts) for 175 yards.
Another big play for the Pack & Nevada leads 17-6 (13:55 - 1Q)
cc: @Isaiah__Burrows#Battleborn pic.twitter.com/9ULux3SOrD
Two games is obviously a small sample size, but the 6-foot-2 wideout has certainly produced in Cooks’ absence nonetheless.
Justin Lockhart and Cole Turner have also emerged onto the scene. Turner, who transitioned to tight end in the offseason, has 11 catches for 191 yards and two scores. Lockhart has ten catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. Melquan Stovall, who was projected to be one of Nevada’s top wideouts heading into the season, has registered six catches for 67 yards. Look for all three of their roles to expand with Cooks’ extended absence.
Nevada (2-0) hosts Utah State (0-2) at home on Thursday at 4 p.m. PST on FS1.