McClatcher, in his return from two major injuries, has eight catches in UW's first five games.

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As a sophomore in 2016, Washington slot receiver Chico McClatcher was one of the most explosive players in the Pac-12, averaging a conference-best 18.5 yards per reception and one touchdown for every 7.8 touches.

He hasn’t been the same player so far this season, and much of that was to be expected after his return from two major injuries in September 2017.

Through five games, McClatcher has eight catches for 119 yards — still a productive 14.9 yards per reception — and no touchdowns. And the Huskies have all but abandoned the fly-sweep game with him.

McClatcher, the 5-foot-8 Federal Way High product, is one of the most likeable players on the team, one of the most respected veterans in the locker room, but it appears he’s lacking confidence, and that had to have taken another hit when he fumbled the catch on his first punt return of the season late in the fourth quarter against BYU.

Chris Petersen, for one, is encouraged by McClatcher’s progress since the injuries.

“I’m amazed that Chico physically is where he is right now at this time just because of the two significant injuries he had last year,” Petersen said Monday. “He’s a unique guy physically in terms of how strong is and how he’s recovered. Just because you’ve recovered physically doesn’t mean you’re totally up to game speed or in a groove and all those things.

“I think we’re still working through some that. But he’ll get there.”