The Washington Huskies’ John Ross is one of the fastest football players in the country. As a freshman in 2013, the speedster from Long Beach, California demonstrated his speed by returning a kickoff for a Touchdown.
During his sophomore season in 2014, Ross ran 2 kickoffs back for Touchdowns, thus beginning Ross consideration as one of the top return men in the nation.
John Ross missed all of the 2015 season because of injury.
On opening day of the 2016 season, John Ross was back to his old tricks.
But, this time he had a brand new victim as in brand new Rutgers head coach Chris Ash.
During the 2013 season, Urban Meyer had never lost a football game at Ohio State. They were favored over Michigan State in the Big 10 Championship Game and the Spartans came on and drilled them towards the end of the game. The Spartans got the Rose Bowl bid and Ohio State had to ‘settle’ for a game in the Orange Bowl where they took on the Clemson Tigers and their high powered offense. The Orange Bowl game was a wild shoot out with Tajh Boyd and his Clemson Tigers taking the win, 40-35.
Urban Meyer was not happy with his defense and he brought in Chris Ash from Arkansas to help solve some problems.
The 2014 season was one of great glory for the Ohio State Buckeyes when they won the first ever playoff championship with big wins over Alabama and Oregon.
After the 2014 season, the other programs were looking for head coaches and the Houston Cougars hired away Offensive Coordinator Tom Herman. That’s what happens when you win. Other programs swoop in looking to hire your best assistants and fix their own issues.
2015 was a different story for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Michigan State won the Big 10 again and earned a playoff berth. Ohio State was invited to the Fiesta Bowl where they beat Notre Dame. They still finished the season with only 1 loss and the troubled programs were still seeking out answers from a winning school like Ohio State.
The Rutgers Scarlett Knights came in an stole Chris Ash away from the Buckeyes.
Chris Ash has his work cut out for him at Rutgers. The previous coach left the program in a shambles that will take a while to fix. As in all new coaching hires, will the Rutgers powers that be give Ash time to repair the ailments. Ash has to begin trying to keep the best New Jersey kids at home, the old building the wall around the state mantra. It’s really an impossible task because there are always some that want to get far away from home, but if you can keep a good portion of the best recruits, then you have a shot at fielding some good teams. The state of New Jersey always has some good recruits, just ask the Michigan Wolverines and Rashan Gary, Jabrill Peppers and more.
The 2016 football schedules were already in place and Ash had a tough draw when the Scarlett Knights had to make the trip to Seattle, Washington to play the Huskies his first game as a head coach.
With John Ross of Washington having to sit out a full season because of injury, he was ready to be back on the football field and demonstrate that he still had it.
Jake Browning, last year’s freshman Quarterback sensation, hit the speedy John Ross on 2 long Touchdown bombs. But, then Ross ran back a kickoff 92 yards for another score proving to the world that he was still a super explosive return man as well as a top deep threat at Wide Receiver. This game was basically over before it really got started as the Huskies dominated the Scarlett Knights.
Last season, the Washington Huskies were known for their defense and they were really young on offense. But, Jake Browning has a year of starting experience now. Left Tackle Trey Adams and Right Tackle Kaleb McGary started last season as true freshmen. These giant tree-like figures of the great Northwest, are experienced and talented young guys that have probable NFL futures and are ready to dominate.
Washington also has a lot of speed other than John Ross, including Running Back Myles Gaskin and Wide Receiver Chico McClatcher.
I was critical of Washington Husky coach Chris Petersen in the past, but he is quietly putting a good team together there in Seattle. Previous Husky coach Steve Sarkisian did leave him something to work with, but he has had to work hard to try and accomplish the same things that Chris Ash must do on the opposite coast. Closing down those borders and keeping the best at home is imperative to winning. Of course, Washington will always depend on California for football talent.
With the Stanford Cardinal and the Washington Huskies as the favorites to win the Pac 12, Petersen has really done well with this program in his 3rd season.
Even though they are nearly a continent away, I’ve always admired the Washington Huskies from afar. Since the days of Don James of the 1980s and early 1990s when they were one of the tougher programs in the country.
They may not be back to that point yet, or maybe they won’t ever get back to that point. But, it was fun to see John Ross back on the team making big plays.