UW's depth at running back takes hit with injuries to Deontae Cooper, Zach Fogerson
Deontae Cooper's second knee injury in two years and Zach Fogerson's retirement because of concussion issues leaves Washington scrambling at running back.
Seattle Times staff reporter
With the beginning of fall camp a month away, the Washington Huskies are suddenly dealing with a depth problem at running back.
Coach Steve Sarkisian said Wednesday that redshirt freshman running back Deontae Cooper will miss the 2011 season after recently suffering another injury to his left knee, and that sophomore fullback Zach Fogerson will have to give up football due to continuing concussion issues.
Cooper, a graduate of Citrus Hill High in Perris, Calif., was one of the marquee players in UW's Class of 2010 but missed last season after suffering an ACL injury in an August practice. He was on track to return for this season when he reinjured the knee in a non-contact conditioning drill. He had surgery Wednesday, and Sarkisian said the prognosis is good for an eventual return to football.
"The doctors are confident that the surgery went well and he will be able to rehab it," Sarkisian said.
Cooper projected to join sophomore Jesse Callier as backups to junior Chris Polk at tailback. Cooper was regarded as maybe the best big-play threat of the three, and Sarkisian had said he would devise ways to get him on the field this year if healthy.
Washington still has Polk and Callier, but depth at the position is more uncertain. Johri Fogerson, Zach's older brother, could fill a reserve role if he can stay healthy after missing all but one game last year with leg issues. True freshman Bishop Sankey of Spokane could now get an extended look in camp. And UW will reportedly bring in Kyle Lewis of Downey, Calif., to play tailback. Lewis did not sign last February due to uncertain academics and had been committed to UCLA, but has apparently changed his mind and could be enrolled at UW by next week. The Huskies apparently went after Lewis after realizing their sudden depth issues.
Zach Fogerson, a graduate of O'Dea, was becoming the leader at fullback before suffering a concussion midway through spring. Sarkisian said it has been determined he cannot continue to play.
Jonathan Amosa of Rainier Beach, a junior and former walk-on, ended spring atop the depth chart at fullback, and true freshman Dezden Petty will arrive in the fall.
Sarkisian said the coaching staff will see if it may need to switch a player from another spot to add depth.
"Obviously, we will have to get a good gauge on Bishop Sankey and what he can bring, and have to get a gauge on Johri and his health and what he can bring, and then the addition of Dezden Petty and what he can bring," Sarkisian said.
"And then we will have to assess our roster ... but a lot of that stuff won't take place until camp begins (Aug. 8)."
• Sarkisian said that sophomore DT Chris Robinson, who battled knee issues throughout his time at UW, is retiring. Robinson had been expected to be in the rotation at tackle after playing in seven games in 2010.
• All of the team's incoming freshmen are enrolled in the school's LEAP program, which helps acclimate newcomers to college academics, and will be eligible for the 2011 season, Sarkisian said. JC-transfer cornerback Antavius Sims is finishing up course work at Ventura (Calif.) College but should make it in.
• Jermaine Kearse of Washington and Marquess Wilson of Washington State were named to the 75-player Fred Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list. The award honors the nation's top college football receiver.
|Run of injuries|
|Here's what the depth chart looks like with Deontae Cooper now out for the season:|