Still four months from the start of Fall camp, Old Dominion’s offense received a boost with the return of Jonathan Duhart at the start of Spring camp.
“It’s great to have Jonathan Duhart back,” said head coach Bobby Wilder, who’s team finished one game shy of bowl eligibility in 2017.
Heading into last season, Duhart was supposed to be Old Dominion’s top receiver, and one of its top overall offensive weapons. The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder certainly looked the part, hauling in a 55-yard touchdown pass in the season-opener against Albany, then followed that up with a touchdown grab the following week at UMass.
That’s when his season ended.
Duhart missed the remainder of the 2017 season, needing surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot he suffered in that UMass game.
“We missed the element last year when teams would walk up on third-and-one and play press man, short yardage, put nine guys in to defend the run and say we’re just going to play man-to-man on your wideouts,” said Wilder.
The senior receiver may not be back to full strength just yet, but he has shown improvement each day.
“When you come off a long-term injury like that, there’s still a lot of things you have to work out,” said Duhart, who caught a combined 17 touchdowns through his sophomore and junior seasons. “Not only the foot, but the rest of my leg I have to get back to 100 percent.”
Wilder believes a healthy, big-play receiver is part of a championship formula, noting the trio of dynamic playmakers in Duhart, Zach Pascal and Travis Fulgham who led the Monarcsh to 10 wins and the Bahamas Bowl championship in 2016.
“We need that dominant receiver…That’s what we’re working to get back to with Jonathan Duhart getting healthy,” said Wilder.