Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross announced Thursday night he is coming back to Clemson for one more season.
Ross and Clemson Football made the announcement official across their social media platforms.
— Justyn Ross (@_jross8) January 15, 2021
This is big news for Clemson, who lost Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell to graduation.
Ross missed all of the 2020 season due to a spinal issue which required him to have surgery back in June. Last month, the All-American candidate received good news from his doctors about the potential of returning to football.
Swinney was hopeful Ross, if given a clean bill of health, would return to Clemson for one more season.
Ross flew to Pittsburgh on Dec. 8 to get an update on where he is at in his recovery from spinal surgery. His visit with Dr. David Okonkwo, his neurosurgeon, was a positive one according to Swinney.
The Clemson wide receiver was still waiting on couple of pieces of information before he could be cleared to play again.
“It was a very positive trip,” Swinney said. “Basically, where he is right now, there are two big boxes that have to be checked for them to say, ‘Alright! Go get it!’ But I think they were very pleased with what they saw.”
Ross was scheduled to return to Pittsburgh at the first of the year to see Dr. Okonkwo and get another update on his progress, but there has been no news on if that visit has taken place.
Swinney said back in December that Ross is in good spirits and hopes everything will continue to move forward for the junior in a positive way.
“I just can’t say enough about Dr. Okonkwo and the job he has done,” the Clemson coach said. “He is an amazing doctor and Justyn has a lot of confidence in him and he has a lot of confidence in himself. Again, if y’all could see Justyn every day in practice, it is unbelievable. He does everything except get tackle. He looks great in practice and doing all the things they allow him to do. He is in full pads and, again, he does not get hit or anything like that. He is not in any competitive situations. He does all the routes and drill work and those types of things.”
This past October, Ross was allowed to start doing some work at Clemson’s practices. He first was allowed to practice in helmet and shorts and then a week later he moved up to pads. But like Swinney said, he was not cleared to do any full contact drills.
“He looks great. But his injury is one we are going to be very cautious with, and hopefully, he will keep moving in a very positive direction and he will get a full release somewhere in the near future,” Swinney said back in December.
This is not the first time Clemson has had to deal with a player returning from a serious neck or spinal surgery. In 2015, former wide receiver Mike Williams broke his neck in the first game of the season when he caught a touchdown pass against Wofford and slammed head first into the goal post in the east end zone of Memorial Stadium.
Williams missed the rest of the 2015 season and sat out practice the following spring to continue his rehabilitation and get his neck stronger. In 2016, he returned to the field and had an All-American season.
Williams led the Tigers with 98 receptions, the second-best figure in Clemson history, as well as leading the team with 1,361 yards and 11 touchdown receptions. He made several big-time catches to help Clemson beat Alabama in the national championship game.
The Clemson receiver went on to become the No. 7 overall pick by the Los Angeles Chargers in the 2017 NFL Draft and is having a very productive NFL career.
“When Mike Williams had his injury, there was a lot we did not know. There were a lot of unknowns,” Swinney said. “Different injury, but similar circumstances. He had to miss a year and he ended up coming back and the rest is history for him. Hopefully, that will be the case for Justyn, as far as a great recovery.”
Ross played in 29 games and started 14 of them across the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He has 112 career receptions for 1,865 yards and 17 touchdowns. He is averaging 16.7 yards per catch in his career.