Injuries obviously are an unavoidable reality of the game of football.
UW fans were given a much-too-vivid reminder of that unfortunate fact today with the news of Deontae Cooper and Zach Fogerson.
UW coach Steve Sarkisian released a statement through the school later in the day elaborating on the earlier report here. Here’s what he said:
“Unfortunately, Deontae Cooper has reinjured his ACL and will miss the 2011 football season. But we’re confident that he will make a full recovery and be ready to play in 2012.
Zach Fogerson has been medically disqualified because of concussions. It’s unfortunate, because we feel he had a bright future here at UW. Anytime you’re talking about head injuries, you have to think safety first. Fortunately, Zach will continue his education and receive his degree from the University of Washington.”
Given the news of today, it may be worth reviewing the depth chart at tailback and fullback:
Chris Polk, 5-11, 214, RJr.
Jesse Callier, 5-10, 205, So.
Johri Fogerson, 6-1, 207, Sr.
Bishop Sankey, 5-10, 194, Fr.
Willis Wilson, 5-9, 178, RFr.
Cole Sager, 5-10, 196, Jr.
Kyle Lewis, 6-1, 185, Fr.
Jonathan Amosa, 5-11, 223, Jr.
Dezden Petty, 6-0, 213, Fr.
The fullback depth obviously looks pretty thin now — recall that UW has also lost Kimo Makaula after he decided following the spring to transfer, apparently to Idaho State. He was third on the depth chart when the spring ended.
Sarkisian said earlier that coaches will assess the roster and see if other players at other positions could be moved to help out. Prior to the spring, he had mentioned potentially using linebacker John Timu at fullback in spot duty. That never happened in the spring but maybe it becomes an option now. It’s also possible that some of the tight ends could be used more often in what are fullback-type roles. That doesn’t mean moving anyone to fullback, just using them at times in certain plays and formations in the roles that the fullback might have filled.
Still, it won’t be easy to make up for all that it appeared Zach Fogerson might be able to add to the team the next few years as he showed a versatility — size to block and the ability to run and catch the ball out of the backfield — that had him pegged as a potential big contributor.
Assuming that Johri Fogerson can come back healthy and Kyle Lewis ends up enrolling at UW, the tailback depth isn’t too bad on paper — I’ve listed walk-ons Wilson and Sager, as well, each of whom is returning for the 2011 season. (And I’ve put Wilson on the depth chart assuming it will work out for him to join the team).
Cooper’s injury may make the Huskies put a little more emphasis on getting tailbacks for the Class of 2012, especially if Polk leaves for the NFL, as is probably best to assume for now. UW has a commitment from Tairen Owens of Muir High in Pasadena, Calif., and offers out to seven others, according to Scout.com (here’s the list). The one in-state player on that list is Keivarae Russell of Mariner High in Everett.
This story includes an update on Russell’s recruiting, reporting that he plans to take all of his visits, with UW being the last one, meaning he isn’t anywhere close to making a decision.
The news of today, however, may mean that getting Russell — or a player or two of similar ability — is now a little more important.