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Vernon to Return for 2012 Season
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 01/12/2012
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Conner Vernon
Photo Courtesy: JC Ridley
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DURHAM, N.C. - Duke junior wide receiver Conner Vernon, the only player in ACC history to register multiple seasons with 70-plus pass receptions, announced on Thursday he will return for his final season of eligibility in 2012.

A 6-1, 195-pound native of Miami, Fla., Vernon is a two-time second team All-ACC selection and, in 35 career games, has 198 pass receptions for 2,675 yards and 13 touchdowns.  He stands two catches shy of becoming just the seventh player in ACC history with 200 career receptions, and is 34 grabs away from the league's all-time record of 232 set by Clemson's Aaron Kelly from 2005-08.

"After talking at length with my family and Coach (David) Cutcliffe, I have decided to put the aspiration of playing professional football on hold and come back for my senior season," Vernon said.  "When I came to Duke, the number one priority was graduating and I'm on track for that.  Duke is a special place, and being a part of this football program alongside my teammates is very important to me.

"The information we received from the National Football League was positive," Vernon added.  "But my goal now is to improve individually and help our team be successful next season."

In 2011, Vernon had 70 catches for 956 yards and six touchdowns to follow his 73-reception, 973-yard, four-TD campaign in 2010.  On the ACC's all-time charts, he ranks eighth in receptions and 15th in receiving yardage.

On Duke's career lists, Vernon stands first for most games with five-plus receptions (23), second in receiving yardage, tied for second in 100-yard receiving games (9), tied for second in most touchdown receptions covering 50 or more yards (4), tied for second for most games with 10-plus receptions (3), third in receptions, tied for third for most games with two-plus receptions (34), tied for eighth in touchdown receptions, ninth in all-purpose yardage (3,191) and 20th in yards per reception average (13.51).  In addition, he will enter the 2012 season having caught at least one pass in 33 consecutive games - the fourth-longest streak in school history - and with at least two receptions in 15 straight contests.

"Conner has had a terrific college career so far, and naturally we are thrilled with his choice to finish his eligibility and graduate from Duke University," said Cutcliffe.  "I'm confident he will continue to work hard and get better, and professional football will be in his future."

Duke is scheduled to open spring practice on February 22.