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Quinten Pounds joins other Washington receivers ready to make impact after injury-filled 2017

Washington's Quinten Pounds catches the ball in front of UCLA's Darnay Holmes in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / AP)
Washington's Quinten Pounds catches the ball in front of UCLA's Darnay Holmes in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / AP)

SEATTLE – Chico McClatcher isn’t the only Washington wide receiver making a comeback from major injury.

For the second time in his Husky career, Quinten Pounds went down last fall with a season-ending knee injury. He appeared in three games as a true freshman in 2015 before suffering a torn ACL in his right knee. He then tore the ACL in his left knee during a practice leading up to the Oregon game in November 2017.

“Obviously, it was crushing when it happened,” Pounds said. “But it’s been a lot easier this time, knowing what to expect and having a positive attitude (during rehab).”

Like McClatcher, Pounds was back on the field last week for the start of fall-camp practices, and the fourth-year junior from Cypress, California, has been one of the team’s most consistent receivers in practice.

“I feel great,” he said. “The second time through, I know everything that I’ve been through before and I know how to attack it mentally and physically. I know it’s all about having a positive attitude and just trying to be the best I can for my teammates.”

The 6-foot, 180-pound Pounds has 16 catches for 241 yards and two TDs in his UW career. His most memorable play was a 43-yard TD grab at Colorado last season in which he out-jumped two defenders in the end zone.

On Tuesday afternoon, he made a similar leaping catch over cornerback Byron Murphy for a big gain.

“People have told me, ‘You tear both of your ACLs and you’re not going to be the same person.’ But I’ve never listened to what someone else has to say about me. I always just do the best I can and not worry about other people,” Pounds said.

Pounds said going through recovery and rehab with McClatcher – who tore the ACL and suffered a broken ankle in his left leg last fall – helped both receivers.

“To have someone with you at the same time is a big deal,” Pounds said. “You never want to go through it alone, especially when you’re off the field and you really feel alone. To have another receiver with you right there, step by step pushing each other, I think it really helped us both recover faster because we were both competing against each other every day.”

The team’s plan with both receivers is to ease them back into the mix gradually this month.

“Both those guys have looked good,” UW coach Chris Petersen said. “We just need to be smart with all these guys because they haven’t played football in a long time. But they’ve done a great job of rehabbing and it’s nice to get those guys back out there and I think a lot of guys are kind of battling through, still coming through. We need those guys.”

Center of attention

This is where Nick Harris wanted to be all along, in the middle of the action for the UW offensive line.

“It’s pretty natural. I love playing center,” said the 6-foot-1, 300-pound junior. “That’s what I came here to do. I’m just glad I have the opportunity now and I’m just trying to get everyone on the same page every play.”

In the spring, Harris transitioned from left guard to center to replace the graduated Coleman Shelton, the All-Pac-12 first-team center in 2017.

“I forgot (Harris) didn’t play center,” Petersen said. “That’s why we brought him in here – he’s a natural center. He’s really, really smart. He’s a vocal communicator. I don’t really think of this as a new position, that’s how seamless that transition has been.”

Behind Harris, the Huskies have turned to redshirt freshman Cole Norgaard as the No. 2 center. Senior Jesse Sosebee spent most of the spring as the backup center, but he’s been moved back to guard.

“Cole’s done a nice job through spring ball and he’s doing a good job here,” Petersen said. “… He’s just kind of quietly battling and he’s one of those guys that shows up for work every day and doesn’t – I don’t really want to say he doesn’t miss, because you know what happens (next). As soon as I say that he’s out the next day, but he’s been battling and he’s been doing a nice job.”


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