After turning down scholarship offers from several schools, including Wingate and Shorter, Ross accepted a “full” offer from the Golden Tigers and will follow a long line of family members who have attended Tuskegee, including his grandmother, who is also his primary caregiver.
“He has had several family members attend Tuskegee and the school means a lot to his family,” said Lithia Springs coach Scott Dean.
Ross has had a stellar career as a Lion, a career that started four years ago as a small, thin, freshman.
“He was a little undersized to project his future impact,” said Dean. “While he started small, he finished as a weight room warrior. He worked tirelessly to develop the skills and size he needed to compete.”
Eventually Ross’ hard work paid off and he even worked himself into a leadership role on the team and was named captain of the defense. Over his junior and senior season’s he recorded over 200 tackles, more than anyone else in the county. This past year, he led the county with 100-plus tackles and 36 tackles for a loss. He added five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and seven sacks. His performance earned him the Douglas County Sentinel Defensive Player of the Year honor.
He accomplished all this despite battling an ankle injury for three games, all of which his coach was not sure he would be able to play. But he battled through the pain and performed at an elite level doing so.
However, what impresses his coach most is not his work on the field, but his character off it.
“While his football work ethic is impressive, we believe him to be an even better human being,” said Dean. “You would be hard pressed to find any teacher that wouldn't identify Joseph as an outstanding student and leader in their classroom. As a coaching staff, we feel blessed to have coached such a great young man for four years. We are excited about his future and he will be sorely missed.”
Tuskegee’s football program is coming off a solid season in which the Golden Tigers went 10-2. They won their 26th SIAC Championship with a victory over Fort Valley State and finished conference play with a perfect record.