EVANSTON — Northwestern cornerback Nick VanHoose will not play in the Outback Bowl against Tennessee, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald and VanHoose told Inside NU Wednesday.
VanHoose will miss the game with a finger tendon injury in his right hand, commonly known as Jersey Finger. He sustained the injury in practice on Sunday.
"I'm pretty sure it got caught in a jersey, and just snapped off," VanHoose said of the finger tendon.
VanHoose's recovery timetable is six to eight weeks, which, he says, should allow him to participate in most pre-NFL Draft workouts and events. According to VanHoose, there's a chance he will be ready for the series of college all-star games, such as the Senior Bowl, that allow draft-eligible prospects to showcase themselves, but he will "more than likely" miss those.
VanHoose, a senior, finished his final season at Northwestern with three interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown against Nebraska, and 12 pass breakups. He also recorded 41 total tackles, including one for a loss, and forced one fumble.
With VanHoose ruled out for the bowl, some combination of Kyle Queiro — who is expected to return from a broken arm for the bowl — Keith Watkins and Marcus McShepard will step in for him opposite Matt Harris. VanHoose and Harris were outstanding as a cornerback tandem all season, but Queiro, Watkins and McShepard all have significant experience as well.
Northwestern and Tennessee square off in Tampa, Fla. on Jan. 1 at noon ET (11 a.m. CT) on ESPN2.