Another player who has had a very long, very difficult road to the NFL is Central State (OH) receiver Dayvon Ross, a native of California who is busy balancing school, football, and family. I was in contact with Denver Broncos safety Rahim Moore, who knows Ross and is helping get his name out there.
Ross has been playing football for 15 years, and he hopes to someday make it to the NFL. The good news is, he knows what hard work looks like. His inspiration is his mother, who raised Dayvon along with nine other siblings by herself in a rough and tough neighborhood.
Ross grew up in a difficult situation, and faces an uphill battle to the NFL, but he certainly has the physical ability to make it. He checks in at 6’2″ 215 pounds, and says he’s now improved his speed to the 4.4 range in the 40 yard dash.
“My biggest problem was my speed, and I’ve been working hard on that,” Ross said in an exclusive interview with NFL Mocks. “I lost a few pounds to make me lighter on my feet. My strength and hands are there, it’s just speed. I think I’m down to a 4.4 now.”
Speed isn’t the only big change Ross has seen lately. With as many life experiences as he’s had–including raising his now three-year old daughter–Ross turned to a higher power for guidance and strength.
“I’ve become really religious so I’ve been going to church, learning more about the Bible. Everything you go through in life, there is something in the Bible that talks about that.”
On the field, Ross feels like he is a complete player. Already blessed with size and working on speed, he really feels like he can be the best player on the field.
“I feel I have very strong hands. I’m gonna catch everything. And I have the ability to create separation from any defensive back.”
Ross is developing some good habits in the film room as well. In addition to his normal film sessions, he’s got his own private film sessions where he will watch some of the greatest to ever play in the league.
“My thing is that I sit down in my own private film session. I like to study the legends of the game, and what I get from most of the guys is that they create. In order to be successful you have to create separation. Nobody can stick you if you’re always open. I like to see how a person will get off his jam.”
In order to overcome so much, Ross has looked up to his mother for guidance. Raising 10 children seems like an impossible task to me and probably most people, but there’s a strength that mothers have that other people just can’t even fathom.
“My mom has been a big part of my life, and she made it very clear that I could go after my dream. She never once doubted me or told me I should forget about football. She always pushed me through the major obstacles of my life. That’s my biggest inspiration. She’s 40 years old and still going to school to do what she wants to do. She always taught me to follow your dreams.”
Coming out of high school, Ross attracted the interest of UCLA but was eventually ruled ineligible. That landed him at East LA College where he could focus on academics, and at that time, professional football wasn’t quite on the radar. The University of Virginia offered Ross a scholarship, but his online classes did not transfer over, so he wasn’t allowed to make the move to D1 football.
Ross ultimately ended up at Central State (OH), a DII college where he is now entering his senior season. Despite all the trials through college, Ross says there was still something that has made this journey much more rocky than others.
“Having a kid, my biggest concern was when I first had my daughter was not being able to take care of her financially. I had to go work at the local grocery store. After I got everything straight I went back to football but I stopped playing for like a year and a half and thought my football dream was over. Coming back from that was a big surprise for me. You always want your kids to have the best, and work hard for them to have the best. I had the same routine every day, and didn’t really have time to workout. When I was able to quit my job I started working out and came back strong.”
So I was interested to know. Since Ross has attracted the interest of a guy like Rahim Moore, he must be doing something right. I wondered who he might compare his game to of a player currently in the NFL…
“Michael Crabtree. I feel like he has the best hands in the league. I’ve never seen him drop many passes. I’m not a big fan of the way he carries himself off the field all the time, but I think on the field, he’s one of the best.”
Like any other collegiate player, Ross wants to achieve individual success, but winning is the most important thing to him.
“I want to get double digits in touchdowns, I wanna lead the conference in catches, and most importantly I want to win. I feel like we have a strong team this year and I feel like we can win every game.”