Just 27 days until Husky football.
In today’s countdown, we look at a few players who are poised to make comebacks from injuries, personal issues, and even more injuries. All three of these seniors have been contributors during their careers at Washington, and each is important to the success of the 2019 football season.
Injury riddled career? Look no further than the senior wide receiver from Cypress, CA.
In four seasons at UW, Pounds has suffered season-ending knee injuries three times. The first was in 2015 as a true freshman, when he went down in the third game of the year, preserving his redshirt. In 2016, Pounds was healthy all season, but was buried in depth behind John Ross, Dante Pettis and Chico McClatcher. Still, Pounds saw regular action in packages that required him to block on the outside, or clear things out deep.
In 2017, Pounds was emerging as Jake Browning’s favorite deep target, catching long passes in consecutive weeks including a spectacular grab for a touchdown against Colorado. A week after he made a similar leaping grab against Oregon State, Pounds would tear his ACL in practice and kiss the rest of his 2017 season goodbye.
2018? Guess what; Quinten Pounds injures his knee. Season over.
At this point, you’d think he would just say “It’s not meant to be,” give up football and finish his degree. Nope. He fought back once again, rehabbing the knee and is ready to attack the 2019 season. I’ve always been a fan of Pounds. He’s a great blocker who has sneaky athleticism and great ball skills.
Lightning in a bottle. That’s Chico. In 2015, McClatcher was one of four true freshman to make a huge impact on the offense (along with Jake Browning, Myles Gaskin and Trey Adams.)
UW has seen its scoring average per game fall from 41.8 in 2016 to 36.2 in 2107, and a very pedestrian 26.4 last season. The losses of Ross and Pettis factor in massively here, but McClatcher’s ability to catch short passes and wiggle his way downfield has been sorely missed.
In his first two season, McClatcher racked up 39 catches for 652 yards and six touchdowns, while adding another 284 yards and four touchdowns running the fly sweep. In 2017, he was on his way to another big season moving the chains for the UW offense when he badly injured his ankle & knee in the Pac-12 opener at Colorado. In 2018, he came back, but clearly was not 100% right. He recorded more than a single catch in just one game before eventually leaving the team for personal reasons. We were accepting the idea that perhaps his college career was over.
But, like Pounds, Chico has fought through adversity and is ready to make an impact in his senior season. A return to 2016 form would be a massive boon for the Husky offense. He once possessed an uncanny ability to get outside and make people miss. His acceleration and shifty lateral quickness —when paired with the patience to let blocks develop— is something UW hasn’t been able to consistently replace. If the Husky running game is as good as everyone is hoping (behind a veteran offensive line), quick tosses to McClatcher outside should deter opponents from employing a defensive strategy we saw last season: Walking up safeties and regularly blitzing.
It was realistic to think that Adams’ UW career was over. A torn ACL at Arizona State in 2017 sidelined him for the season. Then last year —when everyone expected him to be rehabbed and healthy— a back injury kept him out most of the year. Just when hope that Adams would return in 2018 (or at all) was fading, he was practicing again. He played the final four games of the season including almost the entire Rose Bowl.
Was there rust? Of course. Was he a factor? Absolutely.
Adams’ combination of size and agility has NFL scouts licking their lips. While he has never fully become the dominating left tackle we thought he might, Adams is still a very solid LT with the potential to be one of the best in the conference. Consistency is really all that has been missing during his time at UW; and maybe a little brute strength. A player with his length and nimble feet shouldn’t be beaten on a pure speed rush, but occasionally he is. In the running game, he hasn’t ever been that mauler who regularly moves his man backwards. Adams is, however, vastly superior to any lineman who has filled in for him when it comes to getting outside and making blocks downfield. His athleticism is his strength for sure.
After what he has been through the last two years, it would be exciting to see Adams come out with a nasty, angry streak in 2019. Can he return to form? Can he develop the consistency to play at a high level every week? Both will go a long way in determining just how good UW can be up front this fall.
Who’s comeback will have the biggest impact in 2019?
This poll is closed