Clemson WR Justyn Ross to Undergo Spinal Surgery, Miss Entire 2020 Season

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2020

Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross (8) during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game against Ohio State, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri).
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney told reporters Monday that wide receiver Justyn Ross would need to undergo spinal surgery for a congenital fusion and is expected to miss the entirety of the 2020 season, according to Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press and Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports. 

The injury was discovered after Ross missed time in March because of "stinger symptoms":

Ralph D. Russo @ralphDrussoAP

Dabo Swinney on WR Justyn Ross. Surgery scheduled for Friday. Ross has what Swinney called a "congenital fusion in his neck/spine. Doctors are very concerned.

Pete Thamel @PeteThamel

Dabo said he has a "congenital fusion" that he'd had his whole life. It showed up in the X-Rays on his stinger. He also has a bulging disc. The Steelers neurosurgeon is going to perform the surgery. "He will be out this year. He will not be able to play this fall." https://t.co/lQLoh48XuY

Swinney added that Ross was "in a great place mentally" despite the injury:

Julia Morris @JMorrisWYFF4

.@ClemsonFB Dabo Swinney on Justyn Ross' injury: "It was a hard thing for all of us..but Justyn is in a great place mentally..he's ready to do what he needs to do to give himself the best chance to play football again." #clemson #clemsonfootball https://t.co/oSUZj7SSnq

Ross, 20, has been excellent for Clemson the past two seasons, catching 112 passes for 1,865 yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging 16.7 yards per reception. He would have been Trevor Lawrence's top option in the passing game this upcoming season with Tee Higgins in the NFL.

He's a promising NFL prospect, though his injury status will be closely monitored by teams.

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

This is really serious injury, and not just a big college football story, but a big NFL story too. Clemson WR Justyn Ross was trending to be a first-half-of-the-first-round pick, and considered a better prospect than ex-teammate Tee Higgins. https://t.co/0XM2BSDuJ9

Connor Rogers @ConnorJRogers

Feel awful for Justyn Ross, who I thought had clear round 1 WR ability coming into this season

B/R's Matt Miller had Ross No. 21 on his 2021 big board, writing the following:

"Justyn Ross is one of the best wide receivers in college football, which may beg the question of why he slots in so low here. The main reason is that Ross is a carbon copy of Tee Higgins, who was an early second-round selection.

"Ross is a big-bodied target and an excellent vertical threat, but scouts will question his lack of burst and speed in his routes and with the ball in his hands. If he can trim down his 40-yard dash time and become more explosive in the open field, he could be a first-rounder in 2021."

With Higgins gone and Ross injured, Clemson will turn to Amari Rodgers (30 receptions for 426 yards and four touchdowns last year), Joe Ngata (17 catches for 240 yards and three scores) and Frank Ladson Jr. (nine receptions for 128 yards and three touchdowns).