The Washington Huskies will be without their best playmaker in 2015.
John Ross III, the Huskies’ standout receiver and kick returner, will miss the upcoming season because of a leg injury suffered during spring practices last month, the UW announced late Thursday afternoon.
Ross played through knee problems during the 2014 season and sat out the Huskies’ Sept. 20 game against Georgia State. He had surgery in January and was mostly limited to the sideline during UW’s spring practices.
During an April 17 workout, though, Ross was doing some light running when he appeared to tweak his knee, then sought attention from trainers on the sideline. Eight days later, following UW’s final spring practice, coach Chris Petersen was asked whether Ross was OK.
He replied: “John Ross is not OK right now, or he’d be out there practicing. So that’s all I’ve got for you right now.”
Ross played both receiver and cornerback as a sophomore in 2014, catching 17 passes for 371 yards and four touchdowns — on passes of 91, 55, 75 and 86 yards — before switching to defense for the final four games of the season. He also returned three kickoffs for touchdowns during his first two seasons and figured to enter 2015 as one of the Pac-12 Conference’s most exciting players — and certainly among UW’s most important.
He will be a junior in 2015 and still has a redshirt season available, meaning he could still compete in four full seasons at UW, barring further injury.
Ross’ injury leaves Washington somewhat thin at receiver. The Huskies had just four scholarship receivers available for spring practices — seniors Jaydon Mickens and Marvin Hall, and sophomores Brayden Lenius and Dante Pettis — and they signed four receivers in their incoming recruiting class, including Federal Way star Chico McClatcher.
The Huskies are still trying to decide on a starting quarterback, too, after Jeff Lindquist, K.J. Carta-Samuels and Jake Browning competed throughout the spring.
UW also announced on Thursday that sophomore cornerback Jermaine Kelly will transfer from the program. Kelly started the first two games of the 2014 season before injuring his ankle during practice and missing the rest of the season. He attended spring practices but did not participate in drills.
The Huskies begin the 2015 season at Boise State on Friday, Sept. 4 (7:15 p.m., ESPN).