Douglas Tackles Big Decision

Avon (Ohio) High defensive back Ross Douglas became the second member of Penn State's Class of 2013 Wednesday. Fight On State finds out more about Douglas' decision and why he loves the game of football.

Avon High (Ohio) defensive back Ross Douglas' love for football started in fifth grade – thanks to his dad.

"At first my dad said, 'Ross, you're playing football,' " Douglas recalled. "I asked him if he meant flag football. And he said, ‘No tackle football.'"

He continued, "I won't lie, I told him ‘No, I don't want to get hit.'"

The rest was history.

"I started playing and I was actually good at it," Douglas said. "And I have loved it ever since."

Wednesday morning, he realized exactly what the next chapter in his football career would take place.

"I just woke up this morning and told my dad that I slept on it and prayed on it," Douglas said of his decision. "And I just knew I wanted to be at Penn State."

That brought an abrupt end to his recruiting process.

"I always told people that if a school really separated themselves from all the others, then that is where I would go," Douglas said. "That is what Penn State did."

Douglas visited the PSU campus and State College for a Junior Day in February and the experience was a big part in his decision.

"Penn State just completely blew me away," Douglas said.

For several reasons, including the new coaching staff.

"It stood out just how committed the coaches were to their kids," Douglas said. "They really loved their athletes and they will do anything for them to make them better young men and better players."

He added, "I also saw the family atmosphere and my family loved it."

Someone else that loved the news?

Penn State head football coach Bill O'Brien.

"He was excited," Douglas said of his phone call to O'Brien. "He said he started jumping up and down and that I made his day."

Douglas has thought through his college decision, including the possibility of enrolling early.

"I want to enroll early," Douglas said. "I have just always wanted to do that because they say if you enroll early that you get acclimated and have a better chance to playing early."

He added, "I probably decided I wanted to do that in about eighth grade."

A verbal commitment is a big step – and for the Avon, Ohio, standout there is no turning back.

"I am done visiting all the other schools," Douglas said. "I am going to Penn State, and I am a Nittany Lion and there is no breaking that."

A big decision that is a weight off of Douglas' shoulders.

"It's a big relief," Douglas said. "It's just good to get it off my chest and let the world know I am going to Penn State."

Now Douglas wants to shift the focus back on Avon High's football team, just in time for his senior year.

"Instead of people talking about me," Douglas said, "they can talk about my team. My goal is to lead them back to the playoffs."

In the meantime, Douglas has a few words for the Nittany Nation.

"I just want to let the fan base know that we will be a good class," Douglas said. "We are going to make this class one of the top (groups) in the nation."

He added enthusiastically, "And that We Are … Penn State."

Oh , and one more thing.

"Of course I will be doing some recruiting," Douglas said with a laugh. "I want my team to be as good as we can."

And that team begins with the Penn State Class of 2013.


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