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Northwestern football: Solomon Vault to move to wide receiver

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The position change figures to bolster the Wildcats' weak pass offense.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

EVANSTON -- Solomon Vault has officially moved from running back to wide receiver, a program spokesperson announced Tuesday afternoon at media availability.

Former-defensive backs Marcus McShepard and Steven Reese will also move to wide receiver.

Vault practiced at wide receiver and played on the outside in Northwestern's Outback Bowl loss to Tennessee in last season's finale. He caught three passes—the most of any Wildcat—for 19 yards against the Volunteers.

As a sophomore, the Gaithersburg, Md. native saw an increased role on offense in terms of touches. Vault saw his rushing yards increase, but overall efficiency fall from 4.1 yards per carry as a true freshman to just 2.9 in 2015. As a pass-catcher, he caught 8 passes for 76 yards, which does not include this controversially reversed one-handed catch against Minnesota:

Two major factors contributed to this move. The 5-foot-10 playmaker was part of a loaded Northwestern backfield and slated to fall behind both Justin Jackson and Warren Long again in 2016. Carries would be hard to come by with redshirt sophomore Auston Anderson and redshirt freshman John Moten, two highly ranked prospects, also competing for opportunities.

As inspiring as the running back group may seem, Northwestern's wide receivers were the complete opposite a season ago. The group returns just one starter in former walk-on Austin Carr, who led Northwestern receivers in 2015 with just 302 yards on 16 catches. Infusing Vault into the lineup can only help things, as he has proven to be at least somewhat electric in the limited snaps he's seen at wide receiver.

With an entire offseason to work with quarterback Clayton Thorson, Vault and his QB—both of whom were members of Northwestern's 2014 recruiting class—should be able to develop some sort of chemistry.