Some analysts project both Ross and UW's Sidney Jones as first-round picks in 2017.

Share story

John Ross III is among the handful of Huskies who will soon have a decision to declare: Stay in school or go pro?

Perhaps the fastest player in Washington history, Ross says he’s in no rush to leave for the NFL just yet. The junior wide receiver said will wait until after the season to decide whether he will forgo his senior year and enter the 2017 NFL draft.

His priority, he said, is the Huskies’ national semifinal game against No. 1 Alabama in the Dec. 31 Peach Bowl.

“I’m going to sit down with the coaches and sit down with my parents and I’ll make a decision based off that,” Ross said Saturday. “I’m just so focused on this Alabama defense. I can’t get nowhere if I don’t pass that (test).

“I’m just so excited about this team and this opportunity,” he added. “I want to go play tomorrow.”

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2017 draft is Jan. 16.

Many draft analysts project Ross and junior cornerback Sidney Jones to be first-round picks. has both players projected to be taken back-to-back with the 14th and 15th overall picks next season.

Typically, it’s wise for players to leave school early the NFL Draft Advisory Board gives them a first-round grade.

Safety Budda Baker and defensive tackle Elijah Qualls, both juniors, have also been mentioned as potential early-round picks.

Running back Dwayne Washington, drafted in the seventh round by the Detroit Lions, was the one Husky to leave for the NFL draft last year. Linebacker Shaq Thompson (first round, Carolina Panthers) left early in 2014.

On Sark’s promotion

Ross sounded genuinely happy for former Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, who was named Friday Alabama’s new offensive coordinator.

“That’s awesome, man. Big ups to him. Good dude,” Ross said. “I’m proud of him getting back on his feet. I’m proud of him getting back on his feet. It’s good to see somebody bounce back, and that’s wonderful.”

Ross is one of about two dozen UW players recruited by Sarkisian who remain on the Huskies’ roster.

On recruiting

UW quarterback Jake Browning was already firm on his commitment to the Huskies when Alabama called and offered a scholarship during his senior year at Folsom (Calif.) High School.

“I didn’t really talk to them a ton,” said Browning, who had conversations with Alabama coach Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. “It was one of those things where I talked to them once, briefly, and they offered me. I kind of was thinking (about UW) already. I think I was like the 10th quarterback they offered or something (in that 2015 recruiting class), so I’m not even sure if I had committed right there they would have taken me.”

Ross, on the other hand, was not recruited by Alabama.

“I don’t think they recruit skinny kids from Southern California,” Ross quipped.