At 5-foot-6, 210 pounds, Cory Ross of the University of Nebraska may not be one of the tallest running backs entering the 2006 NFL draft, but don't judge him simply by his height.
"People have always been doubting the things I do because of my size, but I don't really think that matters. I think I have the biggest heart of anybody and I'm not afraid to do anything that's asked of me. I definitely feel that for me, my size is perfect for the NFL. I'll be able to do anything. I can pass block and catch the football, I don't think that's a problem," Ross said when asked about his height.
When former Raiders head coach Bill Callahan arrived to coach the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 2004, Ross blossomed as he was able to showcase his versatility in Callahan's west coast offense. During his junior and senior season Ross averaged 992 rushing yards, 327 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns over those two seasons.
With his great hands and quickness, Ross could see playing time with an NFL team his rookie year, possibly as a third-down back. He feels his experience with Coach Callahan and staff will help him be prepared for immediate impact in the NFL.
"Being around Coach Callahan and Randy Jordan for the last two years, because they've been in the NFL, I've learned football and been able to learn plays fast and learn on the run. I think being in that type of pro offense we were in, similar to what NFL teams are doing, I'll be able to pick up the plays fast enough to where they (NFL teams) can trust me to be able to play (immediately)," he said.
Ross' rushing yards slipped from 1,102 in 2004 to 882 in 2005, mainly due to a rash of injuries to the offensive line. However, Ross made up for the teams' rushing problems by becoming one of the key components of the Cornhuskers' passing game with 43 receptions for 392 yards, a school record for running backs.
Despite their struggles during the 2005 season, the Huskers offensive line was finally able to gel in time for their upset win over the Wolverines at the Alamo Bowl, as Ross exploded for 161 rushing yards.
"We were going through the year with different offensive linemen every game because guys were getting banged up. It was just that type of year. You have offensive linemen rotating, rotating, rotating. But prior to the Alamo Bowl, we almost had a month and a half with the same guys in there, and they went out and did the job and opened up some holes for me. All I did was hit them (the holes) as hard as I could because that was my last game and it was important for us to go out and win as seniors," Ross said.
A lighthearted young man with a captivating sense of humor, Ross is projected to be a second-day pick in this year's draft. He drew plenty of interest from teams at his recent Pro Day workout.
The type of player who can bring leadership and character to an NFL organization, Ross is the ultimate teammate who won over his fellow players and coaching staff during his four-year career at Nebraska.
"He's great with people, with teammates, he's a guy you'd love to follow," Callahan said of Ross.
SilverandBlack.com Insiders can read our exclusive Q&A with Cory Ross to find out what we've learned that confirms the Raiders' interest in him, more on his accomplishments, and his thoughts on his Combine and Pro Day experiences.
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Raiders Hot Prospect: RB Cory Ross
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