University of Washington football coach Chris Petersen confirmed Thursday that he has dismissed star junior cornerback Marcus Peters. Petersen made the move after Peters reportedly got into an argument with an assistant coach following Wednesday’s practice. The Seattle Times first reported Peters’ dismissal.
“These are not decisions that are taken lightly,” Petersen said in a statement. “We have high standards for players in our program and they are held accountable when those standards are not met. I wish Marcus the best in the completion of his education and in achieving his football goals.”
Peters had a series of run-ins with coaches, including an argument during Saturday’s game at Colorado.
After Thursday morning’s practice, Petersen said, “It’s never one thing. You’re not going to dismiss a guy because of one thing. That’s not what we’re in this business (to do), but when you just feel like it can’t work, you gotta do what you gotta do.”
Peters, who missed practice Tuesday, was suspended for one game in September for a sideline outburst during Washington’s victory over Eastern Washington that was caught by television cameras. Peters head-butted an Eastern receiver, which Petersen later characterized as a “stupid” personal foul penalty.
Peters will continue to receive scholarship aid.
“It’s unfortunate, but we have certain standards and operating procedures and we’re trying to do something special here,” Petersen said. “We wish him the best and it’s always a hard thing, it really is. Worst part of the job.”
Peters, considered a potential first-round draft pick, leads the Huskies with three interceptions. He also made 30 tackles, including four for loss. He is also the ninth player either dismissed or suspended from the program since February by Petersen.
He was asked Thursday to describe Peters’ reaction to the dismissal.
“I don’t think anybody on either side was happy the whole situation,” he said.
An Oakland native, Peters earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors last season and has been ranked among the top 10 potential picks in several NFL mock drafts.
His departure leaves the Huskies secondary dangerously thin and young. True freshman CB Naijiel Hale will start in place of Peters Saturday against No 18. UCLA, joining freshman S Budda Baker, freshman CB Sidney Jones and sophomore S Kevin King in UW’s defensive backfield.
WR John Ross, who played three games as a reserve cornerback at the end of last year, again began practicing at that spot earlier this week.
“All year we’ve had young guys; they’ve been getting better and progressing and really staying focused and working hard,” Petersen said. “You’re not necessarily preparing for something like this but you always need depth as the year goes on.”
The Huskies removed Peters’ bio from its web site, go.huskies.com, before noon Thursday. Petersen maintained he’ll be supportive when NFL teams call in the coming weeks and ask about Peters in anticipation of the NFL draft.
“He’s got a lot of skill,” Petersen said. “I really do hope that he has a really good NFL career. I think he can and we wish him a lot luck going that direction.”
Shelton, Kikaha honored for academics
Washington seniors DT Danny Shelton and LB Hau’oli Kikaha were named Thursday to the NCAA District 8 All-Academic team.
Shelton and Kikaha are the Huskies’ first Academic All-District winners since offensive lineman Kyle Benn in 2001. The Huskies have not had a national Academic All-America winner since wide receiver Dave Janoski was second team in 1996.
Shelton is a two-time first-team Academic Pac-12 selection. The Auburn native is an anthropology major that has a 3.54 grade point average. Kikaha was first-team Academic All-Pac-12 and second-team All-Pac-12 in 2013. The American Ethnics Studies major from Laie, Hawai’i, sports a 3.51 grade point average.