Ross ready to narrow his focus

Riverside (Calif.) athlete Ykili Ross is preparing to narrow his focus from 23 to 15 before the start of his senior season. Two of his official visits for the fall are already penciled in.

Riverside (Calif.) athlete Ykili Ross has 23 scholarship offers, two official visits penciled in and hope that he can have a top 12-15 by the start of his senior season.

Ross has been laying low the past few months, shying away from media interviews. With so many people lining up to pat him on the back, Ross would rather focus elsewhere.

"I'm not too much of a publicity guy," said Ross. "The media and everything… I just want to work with my team to get a championship. I don't want to get caught up thinking about camps, schools and what I did last season.

"Right now, I'm just trying to get my work in for the season so we can get a championship."

But college is a part of the bigger picture, and Ross knows that in order to make an educated decision on a commitment, he has to be proactive in talking to college coaches.

"May was big for me because I actually got to meet these coaches and see what they have to offer me," said Ross. "Not just from an academic standpoint or a football standpoint, but from the standpoint of being a man.

"Just shooting it to me straight forward and letting me know how everything is. That's been a big thing for me."

With winning a CIF title as his first goal, Ross is going to have to negate the distraction of media and college coaches as his season nears.

"I want to narrow things down to about 12-15 schools a week before my senior year starts," said Ross. "As the season goes, I'll start taking some visits and then by the Army All-American Bowl, I'll have my announcement on a school ready.

"I'll take some visits during the season and maybe some after. I'll narrow it as a I go, so I'll end up with a top three or four before I announce."

Ross already has two schools and possible dates in mind for official visits.

"I know I'm going to take officials to Notre Dame and Oklahoma for sure," said Ross. "I'm thinking of going to the Notre Dame-Michigan game or the Notre Dame-Stanford game.

"I want to see some big games, so I'll visit those schools for games that are really intriguing and catch my eye."

Although Ross has never visited Oklahoma, he did just return from camping in South Bend (Ind.).

"The tradition of Notre Dame and the alumni of Notre Dame are amazing," said Ross. "The school was all picture perfect to me.

"It reminded me a little of the South because it was nice 80-degrees and humid. I love the quiet small town and everyone is there getting you to graduate. It's a private school, which I like.

"That's what I like about both Notre Dame and USC. They have smaller classes and you really get to know your professors."

The Sooners securing an official visit is all about salesmanship and effort.

"Man, it's all about how hard Oklahoma is recruiting me," said Ross. "They just don't take any steps back. I talk to Coach (Jay) Norvell, Coach (Tim) Kish and Coach (Jack) Wright.

"They hit me up… man, a whole lot. I still have to go see them, but I like what they're saying."

Ross has unofficially visited both USC and UCLA. As of now, he says that future trips to the two local schools will be of the unofficial variety.

"I'll be down there almost every other weekend for games, and I've already seen both schools," said Ross. "I want to save my officials for the schools I haven't seen that are farther out."

USC has been the family favorite of Ross', and he admits, the Trojans scholarship offer will always be a special one.

"USC is always going to be among my top choices," said Ross. "I talk to Coach (Keith) Heyward, (Peter) Sirmon, Coach (Clay) Helton and Tee Martin. All of them.

"I call those guys randomly just to check in."

Ross is also in constant communication with the UCLA staff.

"I've talked to coach (Jeff) Ulbrich, Coach Meat (Demetruis Martin) and even Coach (Jim) Mora," said Ross. "I think I talk to both UCLA and USC coaches almost every day.

"They just want me to be a part of their teams. That's the main thing."

Most schools are recruiting Ross as an athlete, with the exception of Notre Dame and Miami, who are recruiting him as a cornerback, and Arizona State, who are recruiting him as a receiver.

"I have no idea where I want to play," said Ross. "I just want to play. Wherever I can make the biggest difference to help the team, that's where I'm going to play at. It doesn't matter to me other than that."


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