RECRUITING: Gators #1 for DL Mike Ross

Although he is still yet to receive his first scholarship offer, West Boca Raton DT Mike Ross has named the Florida Gators as the top candidate for his services next fall.

“UF is number one right now,” Ross said, after he attended UF’s junior day held on March 24. Ross (6-1, 256) had a great time seeing the school. “ I really enjoyed it, he said. “I really liked Coach [(John) ‘Doc’] Holliday. He was the one who invited me, he is a good guy,” he said. Ross also was pleased with UF’s facilities.

The other schools that he is considering include; Mississippi State, South Carolina, Louisville and Notre Dame.

Having already decided on majoring in business, Ross is only targeting schools that have good business programs. His other deciding factors will be his relationship with the coaches, the quality of his fellow commits and how favorable depth chart is for him.

Once the scholarship offers start to roll in, Ross hopes to make his final decision early on. “ I want to commit early and get it out of the way, he said. “I don’t want to lead colleges on. I want to get it over with and focus on leading my high school to state championship.”

Last season, Ross played OG and DT for the West Boca Raton Bulls helping the team go 9-2 and advance to the second round of the playoffs. This season, Ross will remain at DT, but will switch to FB on offense. He said most colleges project him as a DT, but if he performs well at FB, playing offense could become an appealing option. He prefers playing defense because “I like to hit people.”

Ross was pleased with his performance at the and National High School All-Star Combine held March 17 at the Miami Dolphins training facility.

“It went pretty well, I ran my fastest 40-time.” he said, referring to his 4.8 40-time, which was the fastest among all DT in attendance. He was also happy with his vertical jump of 29”. However, his 4.9 shuttle time was rather disappointing for him.

“My shuttle wasn’t as good, because I wore cleats and it was on a slippery surface,”he said. “I couldn’t get good traction,” he said. According to Ross, he can do 30-35 bench reps, but that wasn’t tested at this combine.

His dedication in the weight room and his intelligence are his biggest strengths.

“I am pretty smart so I learn a lot of new schemes quickly and I watch a lot of film,” said Ross, who benches 415 pounds and squats over 600. His favorite player to watch film of is former Miami Hurricane and current New England Patriot DT Vince Wilfork.

After a strong junior year, Ross wants to improve his pass rushing skills this season. “Last year I used a lot of bull rushes, but this year I want to use more spin moves and other techniques,” he said.

Right now Ross is undersized as a college DT. Weighing in at only 256 pounds, he was the smallest DT at the combine. He will need to maintain his work ethic in the weight room in an effort to bulk up if he plans on playing DT at the next level.

Ross, who also plays hockey, reports a 3.8 GPA and will take the SAT for the first time at the beginning of May.