What was supposed to be a quick trip turned into a long, eventful one, that saw Ross end up being interviewed on the local news.
When a pipe burst near the UCLA campus, several of the Bruins’ athletic facilities were flooded, some worse than others.
“When I was on my tour, I was standing on some steps up high on the school and I was looking down, and asked one of the coaches ‘is that a lake?’. And the assistant showing me around was like ‘no, that’s the soccer field. Then we went down and back to the football offices and everything started happening. It started leaking and no one knew really about it then it got real crazy,” said Ross.
Ross was wrapping up the tour and was getting ready to head out before they ended up being stranded on campus for several hours.
“It was towards the end of the tour but it was getting hectic with the water flowing,” said Ross. “We were affected by it though. The car we went out there with is still in Lot 4. We didn’t get home until like midnight. It was a long day. But it was pretty fun going on TV and talking about it. That was definitely fun. Overall, it was a good experience and something I’ll remember.”
The flooding and overflow of water aside, Ross said it was a productive visit to UCLA.
“The visit was amazing,” said Ross. “It’s always amazing to be there. The coaches are so upbeat and they have so much energy. They were like ‘let’s go,’ the whole time. That’s what I love most. UCLA’s coaches are all a family. There is no disconnection there. There is nothing messing with that union. That’s a big factor for me.”
Ross spent much of his time with defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin, assistant Jason Martin and head coach Jim Mora.
“I spent a lot of time with both the Coach Martin’s, Coach Jason and Coach Meat then we talked with Coach Mora a lot,” said Ross. “Coach Mora talked with my dad a lot and everything is really good with them.”
Ross said the Bruin coaches reiterated where they like him.
“They want me as a cornerback and receiver, but when I got there, it would be as a DB first,” said Ross. “I know that they use players on both sides too like they did with Myles Jack.”
Ross has also visited Notre Dame and USC this summer, and now he’s done with unofficial visits, with maybe a couple of practice viewings at the two Los Angeles schools on the schedule before he starts his official visits in the fall.
“When fall camp starts, maybe on my days off, we’ll take a trip up to USC or to UCLA, to the local schools, but I’m most likely shutting it down until the season starts,” said Ross.
Ross has three official visits set.
“I’m going to Oklahoma for the Tennessee game (9/13), to Miami for the Florida State game (11/15) and to Notre Dame for the Stanford game (10/4),” said Ross. “I’ll probably just take a lot of unofficials to USC and UCLA and go to a bunch of their home games. So I’ll leave the last two visits open.”
Ross said he’s still open, with no leader, but a handful of schools have been aggressive more than others.
Ross, who will play both safety and corner this fall for Poly, as well as receiver, said there is still plenty of positional options for him in college.
“A lot of schools are planning to bring me in as an athlete,” said Ross. “A couple of them, Notre Dame, Miami and Cal, those ones I know for sure as a corner only.”
Ross plans to announce at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
And he’s thrilled to be representing his hometown and his high school in San Antonio.
“It’s just amazing,” said Ross. “It’s amazing to have the opportunity to go to the Army Bowl, amazing to represent the city of Riverside and myself. It’s all just amazing. It’s great to know what God can do for you as long as you work hard.”
Riverside Poly’s once-proud football tradition has taken a beating the last several years, but Ross never once thought about leaving the school, despite other more established programs and ones that were winning with more frequency available for him to flourish.
“The most important thing to me was I stayed loyal to my school, I stayed loyal to my partnership and I stayed loyal to my boys on the field I’m with every single night,” said Ross. “I’m with my teammates on the everyday grind, from spring all the way to December. That’s the most important thing to me, that trust and loyalty. I never thought about leaving for another school. There is a lot of family history at Riverside Poly and it was meant for me. It’s just home. I love that I’m bringing a tradition that was once there back. And hopefully with my success, there will be a lot more success out of my school. And that’s one thing I take pride in. I’m not just helping myself, I’m helping others who will come after me. That’s big.”
Poly begins their fall camp in early August and Ross is chomping at the bit to get back at.
“This year will be something a little new for me, playing safety. I’ll be rotating between corner and safety. And then receiver of course,” said Ross. “We open with Ontario Colony and we lost to them in the playoffs last year so we’ve had that game circled.”
Ykili Ross Highlights: