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Clemson WR Justyn Ross finally cleared to play after missing 2020 season

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It looks like Clemson will have one of its most talented players back on the field in 2021.

Ahead of the start of preseason camp on Friday, Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney told reporters that wide receiver Justyn Ross has been medically cleared to play.

Ross, a star for Clemson in 2018 and 2019, missed the 2020 season due to a spinal cord injury and there were fears that he would not be able to resume his football career.

Ross has been out since March 2020 when he complained of symptoms similar to a stinger in his neck, including numbness. After further testing, it was discovered that Ross had a congenital fusion in his spine. Three months later, Ross underwent successful surgery to correct the issue, but his football future was still very much up in the air.

In January, Ross announced his intent to return to Clemson for his fourth year with the program. Ross was a non-contact participant in spring practice and only recently was he given clearance to be a full-contact participant in preseason camp.

“It’s been a long process, but it’s a blessing to say that I’ve been cleared to return this season,” Ross said in a statement posted on Instagram. “I am so thankful to my family, coaches and teammates for their support, to the Clemson trainers and doctors for their hard work, and to my surgeon Dr. Okonkwo for believing this was possible. I’m grateful I had access to so many experts to help me heal and give me the chance to determine my own future. I never take for granted the opportunity to wear that No. 8 jersey here at Clemson, and I am so blessed to be able to put it on again and go play the game I love.”

Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross (8) fights off a tackle attempt by Notre Dame safety Jalen Elliott (21) and gets into the end zone for a touchdown in the first half of the NCAA Cotton Bowl semi-final playoff football game, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross has been cleared to return to the field after missing the 2020 season. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

Justyn Ross is Clemson's most-experienced WR

Ross was a five-star recruit in Clemson’s 2018 class and quickly emerged as a star as a true freshman. That season, he caught 46 passes for 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns, including two massive performances in the College Football Playoff.

First, he had six catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns in the semifinal win over Notre Dame. He then had six receptions for 153 yards and another score in the national title game victory over Alabama.

As a sophomore, Ross compiled 66 receptions for 865 yards and eight touchdowns. Entering 2019, he was expected to be Trevor Lawrence’s top target. Now, in 2021, he will get the chance to be a go-to option for D.J. Uiagelelei, who is entering his first season as Clemson’s starting quarterback. The Tigers have a ton of talent at receiver, but Ross is by far the team’s most-experienced option at the position.

Clemson is set to open its season in a marquee matchup against Georgia in Charlotte.

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