Originally, North Carolina verbal commitment Dominique Ross was scheduled to officially visit Miami the weekend of Jan. 15. After a couple of recent conversations with the UNC staff, that trip has been postponed in favor of a return to Chapel Hill.
Ross first visited UNC in early June and committed a week later. The 6-foot-3, 203-pound linebacker from Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian Academy returned the following month with his family. He was back in town when UNC beat Delaware.
“I’m just trying to get the feeling how it would be if I lived there,” Ross said. “I’m going to be there for three to four years. I want to see how it will feel to live in that city and live in that atmosphere.”
Ross still plans to officially visit both Miami and Virginia Tech in January. He identified both destinations when neither school had a head coach. It’s not a coincidence that Ross has former teammates at both programs (Kendrick Norton at Miami and Isaiah Ford at Virginia Tech), just like at UNC (Andre Smith).
“Well, you know obviously [the UNC coaches] don’t really like [that I’m visiting elsewhere] that much,” Ross said. “But they want me to still have fun but to keep North Carolina in my head.”
North Carolina was on Ross’s mind on Saturday night when the Tar Heels’ upset attempt in the ACC Championship Game failed. He only watched the last few minutes of the game, but did follow its score closely on his phone.
“[Clemson] was the No. 1 team in the nation, so you’re going to get their best game,” Ross said.
“I feel like the ACC is becoming a strong conference, especially getting new coaches Mark Richt at Miami [and Justin] Fuente at Virginia Tech. But Coach [Gene] Chizik and Coach [Larry] Fedora are doing a good job of bringing North Carolina up in the ranks [and] making them a powerhouse in the ACC.”
Ross had a good reason for missing the majority of the game. He had just finished helping Trinity Christian win its third consecutive FHSAA 3A Championship with a 30-3 win over Delray Beach (Fla.) American Heritage.
“At Trinity, anything less than a state championship is a failure,” Ross said. “We always have that as a goal and if we don’t [achieve it] it’s a letdown for the program.”
From his Bandit position, Ross made four tackles (1.0 for a loss) and broke up four passes in the title game. He finished the season with 54 tackles, including 15.5 for a loss and 11.5 sacks, plus seven QB hurries, ten pass breakups, and four forced fumbles.
“I just like to make sure that I make plays for my team every game [and] every chance I get,” Ross said.
Last week as both parties were preparing for their respective championship games, Ross spoke to UNC assistant coach Charlton Warren on Monday and then Fedora on Thursday.
“Right now, [our conversations] are just wishing me good luck in the games that I’m playing in,” Ross said. “And we talk about the games that they have coming up.”