Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year: Solomon Vault, Northwestern
If you asked us this question midway through the season the runaway (pun intended) winner would’ve been Maryland’s Will Likely. After all, teams were literally gameplanning on how to not kick him the football.
However, Likely had opportunities in the second half of the season and didn’t do nearly as much damage as Northwestern’s Solomon Vault did all season long. That’s especially true when you consider he is a kick returner only, yet managed to house two kicks for touchdowns and average nearly 27 yards per return to lead the Big Ten.
One of the most underrated aspects of Northwestern’s 10-win season this year was its much improved special teams play, and a good chunk of it came from Vault’s ability to make the opposition find new and unique ways of not kicking to him.
When that didn’t work, Vault sprung in to action and gave his team great starting field position nearly every time he touched the football. Vault’s name may not be the sexy one as a returner, but he’s the best of the bunch in 2015.