Supremely talented Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross, who was slated to possibly be a preseason All-American going into this season, will miss the 2020 college football season and his concerns could go past that.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney made the announcement that Ross will miss the season with a “congenital fusion” which is an issue with his spinal cord. Swinney said that Ross was born with it and that he suffered what the team thought was a minor injury in the final practice before the remaining Spring practices were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Anytime you’re dealing with an injury around the spinal cord it’s of course a big concern. Not only is his college career likely over because he would’ve been eligible for the NFL Draft following this season anyways, but this could put concern around the rest of his playing career.
Of course, it’s a while before we will know how this ends up playing out, but spinal cord issues are serious, especially something that someone is born with and you’re attempting to play a game as physical as football where it wouldn’t be far fetched for him to get tackled by taking a helmet to the back.
Swinney also announced that Ross will meet with Dr. David Okonkwo in Pittsburgh and have surgery Friday. There is optimism that Ross will be able to make a return to a football field again at some point, but this is not a condition that really has a track record of football players dealing with.
Ross came onto the scene right away in college football, putting up exactly 1,000 yards in his true freshman season while scoring nine touchdowns and averaging 21.7 yards per catch. He also wowed the nation in the College Football Playoffs that season, grabbing six catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns against Notre Dame in the semifinals and then another six catches for 153 yards and a touchdown against Alabama in the championship. His championship game also featured a few highlight reel grabs.
Ross backed that performance up with 66 catches for 865 yards and eight more touchdowns as a sophomore on a loaded receiving core.
Clemson will still have plenty of talent in the receivers room with the level they recruit at, but with Tee Higgins departing for the NFL, Ross was going to be looked at to have his best season yet leading the receiver core and giving Trevor Lawrence a proven number one receiver, now the Tigers will have to look elsewhere and Ross will have to begin the road to getting back on the field after he has surgery.
Top Photo: Ben Margot/Associated Press