Marcus Peters, the Huskies’ standout junior cornerback, has been dismissed from the program, UW announced Thursday.
Peters got into an argument with an assistant coach during practice Wednesday, a source said, apparently the final straw in a series of run-ins with Washington’s new coaching staff. He also got into an argument with coaches during UW’s victory at Colorado on Saturday and then missed practice on Tuesday, sources said.
“It’s never one thing. We’re not going to dismiss a guy because it’s one thing,” UW coach Chris Petersen said after practice Thursday morning. “That’s not what we’re in this business (to be) about. But when you feel like it just can’t work, you gotta do what you’ve gotta do.”
UW announced that it will continue to provide Peters’ scholarship through the completion of his education.
“It’s unfortunate, but we’ve got certain standards and operating procedures,” Petersen said. “We’re trying to do something special here. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Like I said, we wish him the best. It’s always a hard thing — worst part of the job, without question. And with all that being said, that’s really it. That’s it in a nutshell. I know everybody wants the details and other things — we don’t go there; we can’t go there. But like I said, we wish him the best, and it’s hard and painful.”
Asked what Peters’ reaction was to his dismissal, Petersen said, “I don’t think anybody on either side was happy with the whole situation.”
Peters has not returned messages seeking comment since Wednesday night.
True freshman Naijiel Hale will make his first career start in Peters’ place against No. 18 UCLA on Saturday, Petersen said.
In his third year as a starting cornerback, Peters had been suspended for one game in September after his sideline outburst, in which he threw his helmet and gloves, a week earlier against Eastern Washington. That outburst followed what Petersen called a “stupid” personal-foul penalty against Peters, who had head-butted an EWU receiver.
Peters is considered a potential first-round NFL draft pick.
This is the ninth incident of player discipline, with a player either being suspended or dismissed by Petersen since February.
Peters was one of two players, along with senior cornerback Travell Dixon, spotted laughing on the UW sideline in the final minutes of the Huskies’ blowout loss at Oregon last month.
Peters, a 6-foot, 190-pound junior from Oakland, Calif., led the Huskies with three interceptions and 10 passes defended this season. He earned second-team all-Pac-12 honors last season after leading the Huskies with five interceptions. He was also suspended for the opening quarter of UW’s Fight Hunger Bowl victory last December.
The Huskies were already thin in the secondary even before Peters’ dismissal, having lost two defensive backs to season-ending injuries. They had even asked sophomore receiver John Ross III to help out as a nickel cornerback this week.
Two true freshmen, cornerback Sidney Jones and free safety Budda Baker, have been starting in UW’s secondary. A third true freshman, Naijiel Hale, could take over Peters’ starting role against No. 18 UCLA on Saturday.
UW’s only other scholarship cornerbacks available are Darren Gardenhire, another true freshman, and Dixon, a senior who has appeared in seven games in a reserve role this season.