UW also announces sophomore cornerback Jermaine Kelly will transfer to another program.
Washington wide receiver John Ross III, one of the fastest, most explosive and most versatile players in the Pac-12 Conference, will miss the 2015 season because of a leg injury, UW announced Thursday.
Ross, a junior, had surgery in January to repair two meniscus tears in his right knee and then aggravated that knee injury during a practice last month at Husky Stadium. Ross did little in the first few weeks of spring practices, generally participating in only half-speed route-running drills. He appeared to reinjure the knee while doing a light running (noncontact) drill on April 17. He immediately sought out a team trainer.
The loss of Ross puts a damper on the Huskies’ hopes of improving a passing attack that ranked 11th in the Pac-12 last season, averaging 200.1 yards per game. The Huskies enter the summer with significant questions at quarterback, and now their depth at receiver — already limited — has taken another hit.
Not including Ross, the Huskies had just four scholarship receivers available for spring practices: seniors Jaydon Mickens and Marvin Hall, and sophomores Dante Pettis and Brayden Lenius. UW signed four receivers in February — Andre Baccellia, Chico McClatcher, Quinten Pounds and Isaiah Renfro — and at least one of those true freshmen will be counted on to play immediately this fall.
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As a sophomore last fall, Ross scored seven touchdowns on plays of 91, 20, 55, 75, 86, 100 and 96 yards, an average of 75 yards per touchdown play. His two kickoff returns for a touchdown tied a school single-season record. As a true freshman, he also returned a kickoff 100 yards in the 2013 Fight Hunger Bowl.
Ross, from Long Beach, Calif., initially injured his knee in the Huskies’ victory over Illinois on Sept. 13 and sat out the following week’s game against Georgia State.
After the dismissal of star cornerback Marcus Peters last November, Ross stepped in and filled the void on defense, starting the Huskies’ final four games at cornerback. He also played some nickelback at the end of his true freshman season in 2013.
In the spring of 2014, Ross ran a hand-timed 4.29-second 40-yard dash, the fastest mark on the team. He gained about 15 pounds this offseason and was listed at 5-feet-11 and 194 pounds on the spring roster.
Ross has a redshirt season to use and is expected to return in 2016 as a redshirt junior.
In other personnel news, sophomore cornerback Jermaine Kelly has left the program and will seek a transfer, UW announced. Kelly, from Los Angeles, started the first two games of the 2014 season at cornerback before breaking his ankle in practice and missing the rest of the season.
Kelly would have had a tough time winning back his starting job this year. After he broke his ankle last fall, true freshman Sidney Jones emerged as UW’s most reliable cornerback. This spring, with Kelly still sidelined, sophomore cornerbacks Darren Gardenhire and Naijiel Hale were two of the most-improved players on the team.
The Huskies also signed two cornerbacks in February: Jordan Miller (Oceanside, Calif.) and Austin Joyner, the state’s top recruit from Marysville-Pilchuck.