Huskies’ Ross has speed that catches Alabama’s at­ten­tion

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Charles Odum

atlanta» Alabama cor­ner­back Mar­lon Humphrey needed only a quick look at game film to know Wash­ing­ton’s John Ross has the speed to be a fac­tor in Satur­day’s Peach Bowl, a national semi­fi­nal game.

The sur­prise for Humphrey was learn­ing that the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Ross, one of the na­tion’s top wide re­ceivers, has elite speed af­ter miss­ing the 2015 sea­son be­cause of knee surgery.

“I knew he didn’t play last year, but I didn't know why,” Humphrey said Thurs­day. “I def­i­nitely couldn’t tell that af­ter watch­ing him play. I couldn’t tell that at all.”

Wash­ing­ton has other dan­ger­ous wide re­ceivers — in­clud­ing Dante Pet­tis — but Ross earned a prom­i­nent spot in Alabama’s de­fen­sive game plan.

“When we first ran film on him, you could tell he’s prob­a­bly one of the fastest guys we’ve seen,” Humphrey said. “His off-the-line re­lease is heads and shoul­ders over most. But I think what he’s best at is when the ball is in the air. ... You can never re­ally tell when he’s go­ing to reach for it.”

Ross suf­fered his knee in­jury dur­ing spring prac­tice in 2015. Wash­ing­ton coach Chris Peter­son said Ross is a bet­ter wide­out now than be­fore the in­jury, and statis­tics back up that claim.

Ross is tied for third among FBS play­ers with 17 touch­down catches this sea­son. His tal­ent (76 catches for 1,122 yards this sea­son) could be an equal­izer for the Huskies, who are two-touch­down underdogs in the Peach Bowl at the Ge­or­gia Dome.

Wide re­ceiver John Ross has 76 catches for 1,122 yards and 17 TDs this sea­son for Pac-12 cham­pion Wash­ing­ton. As­so­ci­ated Press file

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