When North Carolina fans think of West Virginia recruits, it’s typical to conjure up memories of Ryan Switzer pledging to the Tar Heels over the likes of Florida State, Penn State, and West Virginia. Four classes later, UNC is heavily pursuing another prospect from the Mountain State – Billy Ross, a 6-foot-5, 292-pound offensive lineman.
UNC was part of a sudden avalanche of offers for Ross, a Huntington (W.Va.) High product. With the recent additions of Mississippi State, Nebraska, and Rutgers his offer count stands at 18.
A couple of weekends back, Ross was scheduled to head to Florida for a developmental camp. When UNC offered a few weeks prior, he decided to make a pit stop at Chapel Hill along the way to that camp.
“I loved everything about it,” Ross said. “I loved everything about North Carolina. It was awesome.”
With that said, UNC is a strong contender for Ross.
“They’re at the top of my list,” Ross said. “But, I don’t really have a 1 through 10 right now, because I haven’t taken enough visits or talked to enough coaches yet. I’ve loved all the places that I’ve visited, but I still have a lot to go. I may have some more offers added, too.”
Ross eventually plans to narrow his focus to a more manageable number. But don’t expect him to publicly unveil his finalists.
“I’m not going to list them out,” Ross said. “I’m going to let the coaches know – I’m not going to put it out on Twitter, I don’t think that’s cool. I think I should be straight up with the coach and tell the coaches, ‘Thanks for the interest, but I’ve narrowed my list down.’”
Ross doesn’t exactly know when he’ll make a verbal commitment. He plans to pull the trigger when “it hits him.”
“I’m not going to commit and then de-commit,” Ross said. “I hate guys that do that. Once you’re committed, you’re committed. So I’m looking for the right place.”
However, Ross does anticipate taking his recruitment into the football season.
“I want to take some visits this fall to see the atmosphere and see what it’s like on game day,” Ross said. “That also will affect my decision.”
Ross’s UNC visit, which took place two Fridays back, lasted a few hours. It included tours of the campus and facilities, lunch, and plenty of time with Chris Kapilovic, UNC’s offensive line coach.
“He told me that I could play there and he likes the way I play,” Ross said. “He said that I fit their offense well. I could play guard or tackle for them.”
For Huntington High, Ross plays tackle.
Although nothing is set, Ross plans to return to UNC for a spring practice.
Ross is also finalizing details for a trip to West Virginia on Sunday. During his spring break, he plans to travel to Florida State and Tennessee. Additionally, he hopes to visit Michigan and South Carolina before the summer.
A day after visiting UNC, Ross headed east on I-40 to check out NC State. He has also visited Auburn and Louisville.
As for Switzer, Ross doesn’t know him personally, but he’s well aware of Switzer’s legacy, particularly as a running back for Charleston (W.Va.) Washington.
“Everyone knows him,” Ross said. “He’s an awesome player. I know the high school that he came from – we played them in the playoffs this year.”
Regardless, watching Switzer continue his football career at UNC – and succeed – won’t impact Ross’s recruitment.
“We’re two different people,” Ross said. “We’re different football players – we play two different positions.
"I feel like I will do well at Carolina. It's a great program.”