Before offering Riverside (Calif.) Poly athlete Ykili Ross on Thursday, California had mainly spoken with his parents, but even from those conversations, he knew the Bears were close.
Ross has also gone up against future Cal wide receiver Erik Brown on the seven-on-seven circuit.
"It was fun; he was a really good player," Ross said. "I knew they were out for me."
"It's big," Ross said of the offer, before it came down. "Growing up, I watched Cal. That's where my uncle always wanted to go. A couple people in my family always wanted to go there. There was a guy who went to my school back in the ‘80s who comes around now, who I'm pretty close to, who went to Cal. His name is [Tim] Hardin, he played linebacker. He went to Riverside CC, and then he went to Cal. He's been telling me about everything there, and how it's a nice program."
Ross – who's nickname is Flash -- has modeled his game after that of former Cal receiver DeSean Jackson, and Ross paid very close attention to the new Washington Redskins weapon when Jackson was wearing the blue and gold.
"On kick returns and everything, he was a monster," Ross said. "I want to emulate him, having the speed. He preaches, in and out of everything, just fast, fast, fast, in everything. That's what I want to model my game after, even though I am a little bigger than him. I still want that speed."
Ross isn't quite as fast as Jackson, clocking a 4.4-second 40-yard dash time, but he's close. Despite the nickname, and the desire to be a Jackson analogue, Ross is decidedly not flashy. After touchdowns, he just hands the ball to the official. No celebrating, no dances, no shenanigans.
"[Jackson] has a lot of flash inside of him, but usually, when you're really good, growing up inside the neighborhood, where I was playing everybody on the street, and everybody says, ‘Man, you're going to be good,' all of that just comes, so I just have to keep on working hard," Ross said. "It comes right behind you. You get that label put on you, it's not something you go out for."
His given name, though, has a story behind it: He is the seventh person in his family to bear the name, which means ‘Warrior' in Swahili.
Cal of course isn't the only in-state offer for the four-star prospect, as he currently favors UCLA and USC. He was recently on the Trojans' campus for an unofficial visit.
"The John McKay Center, man, I can't stop talking about it," Ross said. "It's something. It's nice, especially having a chance to work out in there, that's tight."
'Flash' Pulls Down Cal Offer
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