New Terps running back recruit a 'home-run hitter'
An introduction to Brandon Ross nearly three years ago still resonates in the mind of Tyran Rice, The Charter School of Wilmington (Del.) football coach.
“My first impression was basically, ‘This kid is fast. He looks like an athlete.’ That was my first impression,” Rice said of Ross, then a freshman going out for the Lightning Bolts’ varsity.
Ross earned a spot on Rice’s team and didn’t disappoint. He served as Charter’s backup running back as a ninth-grader, and took over the starting job in his sophomore and junior seasons, showcasing that speed and athleticism Rice first noticed in the summer of 2007.
At Maryland’s one-day camp last Sunday, Ross had a chance to show the Terps coaches those very same qualities. Ross’ performance in College Park earned him a scholarship offer, which he accepted shortly thereafter to become the 12th known commitment of Maryland’s 2011 recruiting class.
“For him, Maryland was always in the picture. Other schools were interested in Brandon, but Brandon wanted to go to Maryland,” Rice said. “There were various schools interested in Brandon. Army had already offered, Delaware State offered on the spot at Maryland’s camp. Schools like Rutgers and Boston College were extremely serious. They were looking for him to come to their one-day camps. Maryland’s camp was first. The rest is pretty much history.”
Ross, the lone returning starter for Charter last season, rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns during the Lightning Bolts’ 2-8 campaign. The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder had “at least eight” scores of 20 yards or longer. Big plays, Rice said, are a trademark of Ross’ game.
“There was a play last year, when he was a sophomore, where we were backed up, I want to say on our 5- or 10-yard line,” Rice said. “He catches a screen pass and he takes it to the house. I mean, it was like other people were standing still, as fast as he was running. He just kind of took off. I got accustomed to seeing that. When he gets in the open field, he’s trouble. There aren’t many people in Delaware that can run with him on the same page.”
Rice said Ross, a 4.0 student, is a versatile athlete who can excel in the spread formation or as the lone back. Rice isn’t sure how Ross will factor in to Maryland’s system, but he’s confident it’s a good fit for both parties.
“Brandon obviously can run. He can also catch and he’s added 15 pounds of muscle this year,” Rice said. “He’s getting bigger. He’s worked extremely hard. Whatever the coaches want to do offensively, I’m sure he can do. ... But he’s definitely a home-run hitter who can put the ball in the end zone every time he touches the ball.”