Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney recently announced that star wide receiver Justyn Ross will miss the 2020 College Football season. After a minor injury during the spring, an X-ray revealed that Ross has a congenital fusion in his neck/spine. According to The Athletic’s Grace Raynor, Ross will have surgery on Friday.
Ross is entering his junior season with the Tigers after playing a leading role in back-to-back National Championship appearances. In his first two seasons, Ross produced 112 receptions, 1,865 yards, and 17 touchdowns.
At 6-4, Ross gave superstar quarterback Trevor Lawrence a reliable target over the past two seasons. He also teamed up with Tee Higgins, who the Cincinnati Bengals recently selected with the 33rd overall pick in the NFL Draft, to form one of the best wide receiver duos in college football.
Ross’ most memorable game with the Tigers so far came in the 2019 College Football Championship game against Alabama. Facing the undefeated Crimson Tide, Clemson struck early and often. Ross finished the game with six receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown as Clemson demolished Alabama 44-16.
In January, Sports Illustrated pegged Ross as the second-best wide receiver who could enter the 2021 NFL Draft, behind LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase. Amidst speculation that the 2021 wide receiver class could even top the star-studded 2020 class, analysts expected Ross to hear his name called in the first round.
The absence of Ross puts immense pressure on Clemson’s returning receivers. Senior Amari Rodgers is the elder statesman of the unit. He’ll line up alongside senior Cornell Powell and sophomores Frank Ladson Jr. and Joseph Ngata as the Tigers look to make their third consecutive National Championship appearance.