John Carroll fifth-year senior Frank Ross came to John Carroll University in the fall of 2006 as a self-proclaimed “scrambling quarterback who was a good athlete, but had only a decent arm.”
Calling himself a “good athlete” seems to be selling himself short. Good athletes don’t break school records as Ross has done.
After switching to wide receiver during his sophomore year, he’s re-written the record book for that position.
He’s already broken the school record for receptions in a career and, if all goes well, he’ll become the Blue Streak leader in career receiving yards as well. Currently, he’s second in that category.
So far this season, Ross leads the team with 27 catches for 239 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Back in spring ball, Ross wasn’t even sure he would be on the team.
He earned his degree last May and was looking to enter the coaching profession, but things didn’t fall his way. He lost out on a graduate assistant job at Ball State, ironically to Don Shula’s grandson.
JCU head coach Regis Scafe allowed Ross to coach the Blue Streak wide receivers, and after being granted an extra year of eligibility because of a medical redshirt granted by the NCAA, he elected to come back for a fifth season.
Despite the fact that the Blue Streaks are 1-3 after last Saturday’s loss to Otterbein, Ross has no regrets about coming back.
“It’s frustrating being 1-3, but I don’t have any regrets about coming back,” Ross said. “This year has been good for me in that all of the people I came in with, all of my close buddies, they’re gone now. So it’s been good for my personal growth and development. I don’t need to have as much of a social life. I’ve been there and done that, and I’m here for the game now.”
It really is all about football for Ross. He’s enrolled in graduate school for the semester and taking the minimum of nine credit hours to be eligible under NCAA rules.
After the season and semester come to an end, Ross will get back on the prowl to find a coaching job.
“I have every intention of coaching in the NFL,” he said. “I want to be the next Josh McDaniels, and I’m not going to stop until I get there.”
He already sounds like a coach when he sums up the Blue Streaks season.
“We’re a good football team, and we can honestly say that. But the reality is we’re 1-3, and yeah we have played good teams, but that’s just people making excuses for us,” Ross said. “We’ve played three teams in the top 25, but if we want to be in the top 25, we have to beat teams in the top 25.”
At the end of the season, Ross hopes to continue to play either in Canada or the Arena League. He admits that once you stop playing, you don’t go back. But once he’s done playing, it’s coaching that he wants to pursue.
He has some pretty good role models around campus to emulate.
“Coach Scafe knows how to win,” Ross said. “He gets us to play with effort and desire. That stuff is there. The pieces are in place, we just have to put it all together and be on our Ps and Qs.”
For Ross, effort is the biggest thing.
“We have a lot of guys working hard. We’re not satisfied with the progress of the program the last three or four years. It has been very difficult and it’s hard to turn around. We’re working towards it and bringing in the right people,” he said.
In addition to showing Ross how to handle a team, Scafe has made it a point to help his best player accomplish his NFL coaching dream.
“If you look at it, there are four guys in the NFL with prominent positions that are Carroll guys,” Ross said. “And to think that all of those guys came from a Division III school. Coach Scafe and Coach [Tom] Arth know all of them and are going to help get me in touch with those guys after the season.”
Ross knows that coming to JCU certainly helped him get closer to his dreams.
“I didn’t really expect all the connections when I got [to JCU],” Ross said. “But it’s been an absolute blessing to come to John Carroll and it has certainly helped me towards meeting my goals.”