“I think he made an outstanding choice. He has lots of family ties there so not only did it mean a lot to him, but it meant a lot to his family as well,” said head coach Scott Dean.
As mentioned by Dean, the family ties which Ross has to Tuskegee played a large role in his final decision as he had seven family members attend, including his grandmother.
This connection to the school made Tuskegee Ross’ first choice. However, he did not hear from the university right away and looked at a few other schools until Tuskegee, a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in NCAA Division II, put an offer on the table.
Ross, at 6-foot, 185 pounds, also looked at Jacksonville State University, University of Tennessee at Martin and Wingate University, with the strongest consideration going to Wingate.
Ross played football for the Lions all four years of high school, making it on the varsity team as a sophomore on the special teams.
“As a freshman, Joseph was small and thin and a little undersized to project his future impact. While he started small, he finished as a weight room warrior. He worked tirelessly in the weight room and the football field to develop the skills and size he needed to compete,” said Dean.
As a junior, Ross moved to the middle linebacker position where he stayed, finishing his career with more than 200 tackles, according to Dean.
Dean also said Ross was recognized as the Douglas County Defensive Player of the Year for his senior season.
Ross said his fondest memory of his high school football career was when he got injured a bruised sternum his sophomore year.
“I had to be carried to the hospital. The coaches called all through the night and early in the morning. That really showed me a lot about the program. That was a defining moment for me because I was redistricted for New Manchester but the coaches and program at Lithia Springs kept me here,” Ross said.
As Ross finishes his senior year, Dean said he will be “sorely missed.”
“As a coaching staff, we feel blessed to have coached such a great young man for four years. We are excited about his future,” said Dean.