Ross now shopping at the Big and Tall

SUCCESSFUL RECRUITING at Oregon State means having the ability to project, to identify a "skinny" offensive lineman with the frame, quick feet and skills that will serve the team well down the road. And, of course, you have to land that recruit. OSU did that last year with Rory Ross. And having grayshirted this season, he'll arrive looking a whole lot different than he did at this time last year.

About 50 pounds different.

Coming out of Peoria, Ariz., Ross checked in at 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds when he signed with OSU last year. He'll start classes at Oregon State next month as a 6-4.5, 300-pound freshman.

"I'll be checking in (at Oregon State) Jan. 3," said Ross. "I've just been working out, running, trying to get my weight up. I'm actually about 300, now."

Ross also put on the "good kind" of weight, lifting every other day and packing a lot of protein into his diet. He also kept up with his cardio through jump roping and playing lots of hoops.

Speaking of hoops, and to give a glimpse into his athleticism and how he added the weight, Ross can still dunk a basketball despite the extra bulk. That was one of the oft-repeated questions line coach Mike Cavanaugh has had for him, said Ross.

"Coach Cav, he calls every week or so just to make sure I can still dunk the basketball," said Ross. "I think that was one thing that kind of impressed him, that I could still dunk."

Ross' preparation wasn't limited to the gym, he's also been doing some studying, catching most of the OSU games on TV and also going to the ASU game in person.

"I definitely watched that line, I think that line was pretty highly rated. I just watched those guys and tried to get a sense of what they were doing, their and my dad also went to the ASU game and met those guys over at their hotel and hung out with them in Tempe," said Ross.

One of the reasons Oregon State signed Ross last year was because of his foot speed, something Ross said he doesn't expect to change despite the weight gain.

"I think foot speed is more of an instinct, either you've got it or you don't. But I think it will be a challenge to get the conditioning up, it's quite a bit of weight to put on over the 7 months or whatever it's been," he said.

To that end, Ross said he's looking forward to getting in the Beavers' strength program and, because he grayshirted, having a spring ball to go through prior to fall camp.

"I'm just trying to get my wind up now," said Ross. "I think it's mostly about getting some really good training and conditioning (at OSU) to be able to carry the weight, I think that's the main thing, getting that wind up."

Ross has quite a reach, with a wing span of 6-foot-8. He played tackle for the first time as a senior at Peoria High, the prior two seasons at tight end.

Peoria head coach Doug Clapp, who has 30 years of experience, said this past January that Ross has potential coming out of his shoes.

"I told Rory...`If I'm right about you, you will not only make it at the college level, I will see you in the NFL,'" Clapp told just before last Signing Day. "He is very quick and has the frame to be an excellent player. Oregon State is getting a terrific young man and he will be a joy to watch him develop."

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