BLACKSBURG - Virginia Tech receiver C.J. Carroll is stepping away from the game of football. The fifth-year senior made the announcement on Thursday night.
"As many of you may know I've been battling through a foot injury for the past two years and trying extremely hard to get healthy," Carroll said, in a social media post. "Unfortunately after another setback Saturday night my family and I decided it is in my best interest at this moment to stop playing the game I love and get healthy."
Coach Justin Fuente released a statement Friday praising Carroll's efforts to contribute this year. Carroll was the team's primary punt returner in recent weeks. He returned four punts this season for 54 yards.
“Our team and our entire football and athletic training staff has the utmost respect for the way C.J. has worked and battled to keep playing through this injury,” Fuente said. “Unfortunately, C.J., his family and our medical team all agree that the only way he can fully healthy is to rest and rehab without competing. While I know C.J. very much wanted to finish his senior year on the field with his teammates, we will always appreciate his many contributions to our program at Virginia Tech and know that he’ll continue supporting our squad the remainder of the season.”
Fuente was tight-lipped about Carroll's status as he worked his way back from the foot injury during the preseason.
"Trying to continue to get full speed," Fuente said. "He’s been through quite a bit as well. We’re trying to manage him the best we can so that he’ll have an opportunity to play.”
The receiver's most productive season was in 2016 as a sophomore. He caught 18 passes for 258 yards including a three-catch, 80-yard performance in a 34-31 comeback win over Notre Dame. He was selected to wear Frank Beamer's No. 25 jersey leading up to the game.
Carroll recently revisited the performance in an interview with The Roanoke Times.
“I had an idea that I was going to wear [No. 25] because I had a couple of nice punt returns the game before [against Georgia Tech]," Carroll said. "Once it was announced on Thursday, it was nerve-wracking, but it was also fun. There’s a little more attention on you. Whoever wears it usually ends up making a play, and I had that in the back of my mind.”
Carroll provided a spark with a 62-yard reception — that will end up as his career-high — to set up a touchdown on Virginia Tech's first possession of the second half.
"That was definitely the best moment of my career so far," Carroll said.
The 5-foot-8, 173-pounder finished his career with 33 catches for 415 yards with a touchdown. Carroll signed with Virginia Tech out of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Maryland.
Thank you Hokie Nation!! ❤️✌️ pic.twitter.com/na0hMrqqQU— CJ Carroll (@_CJ86_) October 11, 2018
This story will be updated