And then, Youngstown State's coaches moved him to cornerback.
"At first, I didn't embrace it because I was comfortable at safety," Ross, who recently was in Green Bay for a pre-draft visit with the Packers, told Packer Report this week. "It took me all that time to learn the defense and learn everything I needed at safety. At safety, it's more mental than corner. I didn't embrace it at first but once I got my feet wet and practiced and worked with all the receivers who were there — I worked way harder because I had to get comfortable at something I wasn't comfortable doing. Eventually, I embraced it."
Ross wound up starting at cornerback as a junior and senior, picking off five passes during that time and earning a second-team nod on the MVC squad as a senior. In his first career start at corner, he held Pittsburgh's Jon Baldwin — one of the top receivers in this draft — to merely one catch while recording an interception.
Ross is projected to be an undrafted free agent, according to the offical rankings supplied to Packer Report, but has a chance to make it in the NFL because of that versatility. Scouts like his size (6-foot 1/2) and athleticism (4.53 in the 40 with a 37-inch vertical jump), as well as his intelligence. He's also experienced in playing cornerback on the outside and in the slot, and considers run defense and blitzing among his strengths.
"If I had to say a corner, it would be Charles Woodson," Ross said when asked who he likes to watch. "He's my favorite player. I compare myself to him as far as my game."
While Ross is all business on the football field, his personality shines on Twitter (@1b_ross). Take these gems, for instance:
— Babies wake up almost every two hours or so, then why say, "sleep like a baby"?
— If vegetarians love animals so much, why do they eat all their food?
— If girls with large breasts work at Hooters, then do girls with one leg work at IHOP?
"It's where I can go and talk to people about the games and things like that. I just like to entertain people," Ross said. "You'd be surprised what goes through my mind when I'm just sitting here and thinking about things. I'm just a guy who thinks outside the box. If I think it, I Tweet it, for the most part."
Ross said playing in the NFL has been his dream since he was about 7. With the draft approaching, he calls himself a "tourist" who is taking in everything with "wide eyes." Those eyes certainly widened as his plane approached Green Bay's Austin Straubel International Airport for his visit with the Packers.
"It went great. It was overwhelming," he said. "There's so much history there in Green Bay. I was just in awe. Flying in, I could see Lambeau Field. It was an amazing visit. The coaches were great. I met the GM, Mr. Ted Thompson, and it was a great visit."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.