Ross: An 'honor' to play in UA Game

JENKS, Okla. -- Running back Alex Ross (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) is known for his humility, for his even-keel demeanor.

For a couple of seconds Wednesday, Ross showed some emotion, and even cracked a smile.

Surrounded by his Jenks football family, Ross was presented with his jersey for the 2012 Under Armour All-America Game, to be played Jan. 5 in St. Petersburg, Fla., and televised on ESPN. It was part of the 80-stop American Family Insurance presents the Under Armour All-America Game selection tour.

When Ross thought about where he was two seasons ago, he couldn't help but grin.

Who could blame him? Nobody could have seen the potential of Ross, now an Oklahoma Sooners commit, when he was a sophomore; he wasn't even playing in the backfield. On a Jenks team loaded with top talent, the coaches initially thought defensive end was going to be the calling card for Ross, because that was going to be his best shot at getting on the field.

Wednesday showed how far Ross had come in such a little time.

"It's definitely been a crazy time," Ross said. "From being a defensive end to something like this, yeah, it's amazing how things have changed."

Despite the amount of success the Trojans program has had, Ross is the first Jenks player to make the Under Armour game.

"This is a tremendous honor," Ross said. "There have been so many great players in the past who have played in this game. This was one of my goals ... you want to be able to play in games like these. I can't wait."

Patience, though, has been part of the key to Ross' success. He was third on the running back depth chart entering his junior year. An injury to the starting running back and some eligibility issues for the backup put Ross into the No. 1 spot.

He hasn't looked back. At 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, Ross has the size of a potentially great running back. Jenks coach Allan Trimble said Ross' speed is what makes him special.

"You can't teach his type of speed," Trimble said. "He's amazingly tough and definitely as good as any running back we've had. There's no question he can finish his career as one of the best."

Ross exploded onto the scene after his junior year, which included rushing for 1,548 yards on 122 carries and averaging 12.7 yards per carry. He rushed for 27 touchdowns and also returned three kickoffs for scores.

Oklahoma running backs coach Cale Gundy scooped up Ross before other schools had a chance. It didn't take long for Ross, ranked No. 39 in the ESPNU 150 and No. 4 at running back, to commit to the Sooners.

He wears No. 28. That's no accident, as it was another Oklahoma No. 28 -- superstar running back Adrian Peterson -- who helped turn Ross into a Sooners fan.

His senior season has been a struggle so far. A high ankle sprain has limited Ross' effectiveness. He has sat out two of Jenks' four games and didn't practice last week.

That's where his calm personality is a plus. He's not worried about missing time, and he's not worried that his stats won't look as impressive. He knows he'll be back.

"It was good to take some time off," Ross said. "I know that everything happens for a reason. It wasn't until about Week 6 last year when I started to get a lot of carries, so it's going to be OK."

The winning tradition at Jenks cannot be matched by many schools. The Trojans have won nine of the last 15 Class 6A state championships in Oklahoma. Trimble has spoken highly of players in the past, but it's different with Ross.

"I almost consider him one of my own because he's such a good person," Trimble said. "He means so much to the program. It's just a blessing to get someone who is so humble to go with all that talent."

Bob Przybylo covers football and basketball recruiting for SoonerNation.

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