|Coach: "No one works harder than Ross"|
|Written by Matt Pargoff|
Michigan picked up a commitment on Tuesday when Avon, Ohio cornerback Ross Douglas announced his pledge to the Wolverines after five months of being committed to Penn State. The 5-10, 180 pounder decommitted from the Nittany Lions yesterday after learning of the sanctions the school would face. According to Avon head coach Mike Elder, the change in plans was not a surprise in light of the circumstances.
“Without question the whole Penn State situation has been difficult,” said Elder. “He built some relationships down there. Coach [Bill] O’Brien has been really good to him. Their whole entire staff was awesome through the recruiting process.
“He feels bad that Coach O’Brien and the new staff are inheriting all of the problems of from the previous staff, but for him, it just made sense to reevaluate things. It was a tough decision to begin with on where to go to school. With all of the sanctions handed down, it was a no-brainer that he needed to re-explore his options. It didn’t take long. He had at least 15-20 other offers, but without question Michigan was his top choice. It was a place that he felt like he would be most at home.”
While the decision in favor of the Maize and Blue came much quicker than many would have expected, his head coach noted that both Douglas and his family have spent a lot of time evaluating schools, which led to the quick turnaround.
“I’m not surprised only because I know Ross has done his due diligence in the recruiting process,” explained Elder. “I would have been concerned that he even committed to Penn State so early if he hadn’t been on a lot of campuses and met a lot of people. Him and his family have done their due diligence. They have been on a lot of campuses. They’ve been down to Michigan. They’ve seen it and I know he’s probably going to take a trip down there again this weekend to see the coaches and talk with them a little bit.
“He’s explored plenty of options and been on plenty of campuses, and really in his heart of heart, when he was making the choice the first time, it probably had come down to Penn State and Michigan. So as soon as he knew Michigan was still interested in him after decommitting, I think it was an easy decision for Ross.”
Douglas is rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals, 247 and ESPN, with Scout rating him as a three-star player. With a long list of quality scholarship offers, Elder went on to discuss what sets his star pupil apart on the football field.
“Ross is blessed with tremendous athleticism,” noted the Avon head coach. “His No. 1 attribute is his speed and his quickness. As a corner he’s a lockdown guy. He’s been starting for us at Avon High School since his freshman year. This will be his fourth year as a starter. He’s one of our team captains and he’s also our tailback.”
While Douglas’ skills on the gridiron set him apart to college recruiters, his coach was quick to note that he is also a high quality individual that will represent the program well.
“No one works harder than Ross when it comes to football,” said Elder. “In all my years of coaching high school football, I’ve probably never had a kid that works as hard at it as he does. I’ve watched him grow from the freshman that started at corner for us to the senior that he is now, and it’s been a lot of fun to coach him and watch him develop.
“He’s a high character kid. He comes from a great family. I just talked to Coach [Brady] Hoke on the phone probably about an hour ago and the one thing I told him was, I can promise you – obviously they know he’s a great football player or they wouldn’t recruit him – but I said he’s a great kid who will never embarrass your program. That’s something that I’m proud of as a coach. He’s a good kid. He treats people with respect. He’s a good student. He’s going to do things the right way and work hard.
As a junior last season, Douglas ran for over 1,000 yards on offense, and was his team’s second leading rusher and second leading scorer. He was recruited to Michigan for his skills as a cornerback.