University of Washington

After injury-filled spring, UW wide receivers back at full strength for fall camp

Junior Adams works with UW’s wide receivers

Washington wide receiver coach Junior Adams works with his position group during individual drills at fall camp.
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Washington wide receiver coach Junior Adams works with his position group during individual drills at fall camp.

Ty Jones made it through half of the first spring practice before an injury forced him to watch the rest of the month from the sidelines, cast on his right hand.

Once there, he joined two of the Huskies’ other most experienced wide receivers: Seniors Aaron Fuller and Quinten Pounds. Fuller was recovering from what head coach Chris Petersen termed a minor procedure. Pounds was working back from the major knee surgery he underwent last season. While all three stayed close to their position group, often participating in individual drills, they were noticeably absent from live periods.

But after all the waiting and watching, the three have returned to the field for fall camp.

“They were always in the mix to me,” said new wide receivers coach Junior Adams. “I saw them every day. They were always taking practice reps even when they’re on the sideline. They’re awesome. They’ve been good to me. We have a lot of fun. The cool thing about those guys is as a coach, I learn from those guys. And that’s pretty cool when you get to learn from your players.”

Jones made his presence felt on the first day of fall practice, leaping along the sideline to snatch a deep pass from Jacob Haener. Not to be out-done, Fuller hauled in a diving, tumbling 40-yard pass from Haener near the same spot on Saturday.

“It feels good, it feels good,” Jones said after practice. “Just trying to knock the dust off a little bit and work on my strength. It definitely feels good to be back out there.”

During Pac-12 media day in July, Petersen said Jones would be working at full speed at fall camp but would also still be developing his hand strength. After Day 2 of camp, Jones confirmed as much.

“It’s a little frustrating, not gonna lie,” Jones said. “You’d like to be 100 percent all the time but it’s getting there. Just got to stay consistent with it.”

With three veterans missing for all or most of spring practice, some of the Huskies’ less-experienced receivers — players like redshirt freshmen Trey Lowe and Marquis Spiker, junior Jordan Chin and sophomore Terrell Bynum — benefited from more time on the field, including stints with the first-team offense.

Bynum made one of the most impressive catches of spring practice on a deep ball from Jacob Sirmon. Bynum and redshirt freshman defensive back Kyler Gordon both jumped for the ball along the sideline but Bynum wrestled it away as they crashed to the field.

On the first day of fall camp, it was Lowe who grabbed the attention. With Trent McDuffie in tight coverage during 7-on-7, Lowe used one hand to haul in a laser from Dylan Morris. He also caught the only touchdown of the day from Morris during 11-on-11.

Chin and Spiker have also made their fair share of plays over the first two days of fall camp, earning praise from Fuller and Adams for their efforts. Jones, Fuller and Pounds watched closely during spring practice, and they can clearly see the growth in the receiving group.

“It was cool to see them out there (in the spring),” Jones said. “I’ve never really seen them in that situation. It was cool. They were fired up and they have a lot of guys, a lot of depth now. So you should see some of the young guys get rotated with the ones and twos now. So it’s cool.”

When the younger receivers first arrived at UW, Fuller and Jones noticed their nerves. But the reps during spring practice boosted their confidence, which has shored up the Huskies’ depth at the position. Even now that everyone is healthy, Jones expects them to keep making plays.

“It should calm down their nerves a little bit more,” Jones said. “They should feel a little more comfortable in the offense to see what they could do.”