Nevada is going to have to embrace the “next man up” mentality at the receiver position.
Wolf Pack star wideout Elijah Cooks has underwent season-ending shoulder surgery, Nevada head coach Jay Norvell confirmed Monday. Chris Murray of Nevada SportsNet was first with the report.
Nevada senior WR Elijah Cooks will have season-ending shoulder surgery. Cooks caught 76 passes for 926 yards, 8 TDs in 2019.— Chris Murray (@ByChrisMurray) November 9, 2020
"He will have an opportunity to come back next season and we're hoping he does that," Coach Norvell said. "He's really a special player and we miss him."
Cooks played in only one half, coming in the season-opener versus Wyoming before exiting in the second half. He had just two catches for 24 yards.
He was the best wideout, and arguably the Pack’s best offensive threat in 2019. He ranked Top-10 in the Mountain West in receptions (76), receiving yards (926) and touchdowns (8). The 6-foot-4 wideout had a career-high 14 catches — a Nevada bowl record — in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl versus Ohio, adding a career-best 197 yards with a receiving score.
Due to the NCAA granting fall athletes with an extra year of eligibility, Cooks, a senior, will be automatically awarded with an extra year of eligibility.
This team shouldn’t have any trouble embracing the “next man up” mentality.
If any unit can take a massive hit, it’s the wide receiver department. Wideouts Romeo Doubs, Cole Turner and Justin Lockhart have all contributed on his absence.
Through three games, Doubs has unquestionably been Carson Strong’s best weapon. The 6-foot-2 wideout leads the Mountain West in receptions (26), receiving yards (473) and receiving touchdowns (5). His 157.7 yards per game leads the nation — 17.7 yards ahead of the next best player (Marlon Williams - UCF).
Turner has also been one of the most productive receivers in the Mountain West this year. He is top-10 in the conference in receptions (15), while cracking the top-5 in both yards per contest (85.7) and receiving yards (257). Lockhart has added 16 catches for 157 yards and a receiving touchdown.
These skill weapon at Strong’s disposal has led to the conference’s best passing (397.0 ypg) and offensive attack (511.7 ypg).
Nevada will look to move to 4-0 for the first time 2010 on Saturday, taking on the New Mexico Lobos. The game will be at 3:30 p.m. PST on Fox Sports 2.