As the Washington Huskies prepare for year two under Chris Petersen, they face building pressure to break through as a legitimate Pac-12 contender. Their 2015 fortunes took a major hit during spring practice, however, when their most dynamic playmaker, John Ross III, was lost for the entire season with a leg injury.
While the team did not identify exactly what happened to Ross, reports are that he suffered a leg injury, after rehabbing from minor knee surgery during the offseason, while doing light work on the side. His absence is going to be felt in all three phases for the Huskies next fall.
Despite catching just 17 passes in 2014 and starting only three games at receiver, Ross finished second on the team with 371 yards receiving, averaging a team-high 21.82 yards per catch and scoring four touchdowns. On top of that, he ended up starting four games at cornerback when the team was thin in the secondary and was named honorable mention all-Pac-12 as a return specialist after returning two kickoffs for touchdowns. In two seasons at UW, he has three total return touchdowns, including a few more that were called back by penalties.
In short, Ross was a major spark that could have been used to light a fire under this Washington team in 2015. His versatility would have been a major asset, just as former-Husky and current Carolina Panther Shaq Thompson was in previous seasons. Washington will feel his absence in every phase of the game for 2015 and will need multiple people to step up to replace his production.
It’s a serious blow to a team that was already dealing with more questions heading into the season than they would like. Will the loss of John Ross III once again keep Washington out of the Pac-12 title conversation?