The term sonority projection refers to behavioural distinctions speakers make between unattested phonological sequences on the basis of sonority. For example, among onset clusters, the well-formedness relation [bn]>[lb] is observed in speech perception, speech production and non-word acceptability (Davidson 2006, 2007, Berent et al. 2007, Albright, ms). We begin by replicating the sonority projection effects in a non-word acceptability study. Then we evaluate the extent to which sonority projection is predicted by existing computational models of phonotactics (Coleman & Pierrehumbert 1997, Hayes & Wilson 2008, inter alia). We show that a model based only on lexical statistics can explain sonority projection in English without a pre-existing sonority sequencing principle. To do this, a model must possess (i) a featural system supporting sonority-based generalisations, and (ii) a context representation including syllabification or equivalent information.