There has been a great deal of off-season excitement surrounding the trio of four-star wide receivers signed by Washington as part of the Class of 2013. The two with the highest rankings and the most impressive physical measurements received the bulk of that hype for most of the past six months. Darrell Daniels, a 6’4″ 230-pound wideout from Freedom High School in Oakley, California, and Damore’ea Stringfellow, a 6’3″ 220-pounder from Rancho Verde High School, have deserved some attention. They both had offers from just about every meaningful program on the West Coast, and both are likely to contribute in a big way by the time they’re finished at Washington.
Stringfellow in particular was rated the best wide receiver on the West Coast by multiple recruiting services, and his game is much more polished than the raw, but physically gifted Daniels. I have mentioned several times that I believed he would start as the second receiver by the time the season started. As camp marches on and the depth chart picture becomes a little clearer, it’s now apparent that this is unlikely. Veteran players like DiAndre Campbell and Kevin Smith are ahead of Stringfellow, who is largely working with the 2nd team in practice.
Thing is, the third member of that trio, John Ross of Jordan High in Long Beach, CA (so many good UW players from Long Beach) is making the kind of waves I expected from his taller compatriots. At 5’11″ and 173 pounds and armed with blazing speed and above average agility, Ross is emerging as a possible starter at slot receiver. His primary competition is sophomore Jaydon Mickens, who showed some flashes playing out of the slot as a true freshman without ever really putting it all together.
As of right now, reports out of camp are that Ross is running with the 1st team offense even more often than Mickens, and he is also preparing to return kicks. With his skill set, he is likely to see time in the backfield as well. I’m trying to be cautious about hyping up Ross as a sure-fire starter just after admitting that I overestimated how quickly and how largely Stringfellow would be ready to contribute (he will still play right away, just probably not as a starter right out of the gate). Mickens, after all, was also a highly-touted recruit, and he also possesses a similar skill-set to Ross. It just appears that Ross may be a more natural pass-catcher, and writers covering the team seem far more impressed with Ross than anyone ever did with Mickens this time last year.
Everything said about Ross will be educated speculation at best until he sees the field and starts catching balls and making plays, but the news of his success in camp provides tantalizing hope that Washington could have the sort of dynamic playmaker they have been missing for quite some time.