Ross skips indoor track to prepare for NFL

Ross skips indoor track to prepare for NFL

Published Jan. 22, 2013 8:12 p.m. ET

After wrapping up his senior season with the Arizona State football team, receiver Rashad Ross faced a tough decision between two passions.

Ross ended up putting track and field on hold to focus entirely on football as he tries to get the attention of NFL teams. Instead of participating in the indoor track season, which started earlier this month, Ross is training full time in Tempe ahead of ASU's March 8 pro day.

"I really wanted to run (track), but coach sat me down and made me understand what I need to do with my ultimate goal of making it to the NFL," Ross said. "I really want to run right now, but it's hard to do that because I really have to focus on the drills and everything for pro day."

That means Ross won't get to defend his Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title in the 200 meters. But Ross says he'll be back with the team for outdoor season once he wraps up pro day.

While Ross hopes to impress enough to sneak into the NFL Draft, that's probably a long shot. Ross, who has signed with an agent, is more likely to be offered a professional contract as an undrafted free agent. That much seems almost a guarantee given Ross's speed and return abilities.

That speed, Ross said, is his greatest asset in trying to convince NFL teams he's worth a shot.

"There's not a lot of people that have speed like me," a confident Ross said.
There's no denying Ross' ability to burn defenders, but he has much room to improve his route running and catching. The speed may serve him best as a kick returner.

Ross finished the season with 37 receptions for 610 yards and six touchdowns, including three in ASU's bowl win over Navy. That game boosted Ross's final numbers, but he contends his season was understated.

"I feel like I've got a lot of potential and it hasn't been shown yet," Ross said. "I just want to be able to do that."


An athletic department source confirmed Tuesday two more players from the 2012 team won't be with the team in 2013. Junior cornerback Oliver Johnson will not return and is expected to transfer. Redshirt freshman linebacker Israel Marshall won't play but might remain at ASU.

Johnson, a transfer from Los Angeles Pierce College, played in one game for ASU this season. Marshall missed the entire season with a back injury, and if he remains at ASU would be a medical non-counter, meaning he would not count against ASU's scholarship total.

With the two departures, ASU now has at least 14 players from the 2012 team that won't return in 2013, including 10 on scholarship.