There is more than one path leads to the NFL. Some prospects play their college ball with the big schools in major conferences. Others toil away from the spotlight at small programs, receiving recognition only by a few regional scouts.
Dayvon Ross has experienced both sides. Originally a commitment of Rick Neuheisel's UCLA Bruins, Ross fell through the cracks, victimized by the NCAA system that favors the schools rather than the players. Ross doesn't blame the NCAA, though. Instead, he landed on his feet at Central State and looks at what's happened to him since high school as a learning experience that's made him a stronger person.
Acme Packing Company caught up with Ross earlier this week.
APC: Can you describe Central State's offense and what was your role within that scheme?
We ran the spread. I was used as a deep threat and was moved around a lot. They were really trying to get me the ball and get me involved in the offense.
APC: Can you elaborate on that?
If the play was designed for a shorter route, coach would mainly move me inside. If it was a deep route, he would move me to the outside because he wanted me to be around the ball and make plays.
APC: What current NFL players have you played with or against in high school and college?
APC: Is it correct that despite playing with so many future NFL players, you actually had better production in high school?
Our conference was packed with talent. I actually led the conference in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns over a lot of guys that were real productive. A lot were first-round draft picks and a lot of people in the NFL.
APC: Where are you physically in terms of your height, weight, and speed?
As of right now I'm at 6-2, 215 and running a 4.5. When I get to the combine I'd like to be down to 210 and run a faster 40 time.
APC: What do you anticipate that time will be?
When I get to the combine I feel confident that I'll run a low 4.4.
APC: At one time, you were committed to play football at UCLA. What happened?
We found out at the last minute that some of the English courses I missed would keep me from attending there, so I was forced to attend a junior college. The JUCO led me to another division one school. I committed and signed with Virginia in the ACC. Everything was going good. I had my plane ticket purchased to go out there. But a couple weeks before I was to go down there, they told me that my online courses didn't transfer over (due to ACC regulations). That's when I was forced to go to Central State.
APC: How do you feel you've changed since high school?
The high school that I went to was in a tough neighborhood. There wasn't a lot of people who really cared about you and I didn't know what I was missing. I didn't know what I had to do in order to get the scholarship. That's why I feel like I was unable to go to UCLA. I've always got good grades in school, so it wasn't that. But now I know that I can go talk to other people about the things that I need.
APC: What kind of offensive scheme do you think you're ideally suited for?
Honestly, I think I can fit into any offense. I'm a bigger receiver and have pretty decent speed. I feel like anywhere they put me, any offense they put me in, I can learn it quick and dominate.
APC: What do you believe will be your biggest improvement between now and your pro day?
Speed. Everything's great from my hands to my route running to my ability to catch the ball in traffic. The only thing that a lot of people talk about is my speed. I'm working like crazy to get that up.
APC: What was the most memorable play of your college career?
We played a game against Urbana University when I was new at Central State. They were like an "overdog," leading our conference statistic-wise and in record. We were actually able to hang on with them, and I scored the game-winning touchdown off a 50-yard streak.
APC: For the benefit of any NFL scout or GM who might be reading this, why should they want you on their team?
I'm a determined player and have every ability to make any play, man. Whether it's a two-yard slant, a three-yard slant, or a deep ball, I can make every play and want them to know that. I'm going to work hard. I'm not a hazard to anyone.
We'd like to thank Dayvon for taking time to speak with us. Look for him at the NFL regional combine in Chicago on March 15.
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