Huskies’ Ross has speed that catches Alabama’s attention
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