Notre Dame remains in equation for versatile Ykili Ross
Considered one of the best defensive back prospects in the country, Ykili Ross didn’t flinch at the opportunity of playing wide receiver in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Ross, a four-star recruit, played plenty of both during his career at Riverside (Calif.) Poly. His future position, and even his college choice, still remain up in the air.
“I'm not a guy who's committed to one side of the ball,” Ross said via phone from San Antonio, the site of Saturday’s game. “I feel I can do both. I'm going to come in and be open-minded in college. Wherever I fit best, that's where I'll be.”
Ross caught 50 passes for 988 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior, so he knows a little bit about making receptions. He added 19 tackles, three interceptions, two pass deflections and one sack in limited time on defense.
It’s a resume that’s helped the 6-foot-2, 192-pound Ross earn a four-star rating and All-American status. Rivals ranks Ross as the No. 3 athlete in the 2015 class. 247Sports slates him as a the No. 8 cornerback.
His play will receive plenty attention at Saturday’s game, but his commitment announcement will likely grab the headlines. Ross said he will choose one of four schools: Notre Dame, USC, Oregon or Arizona State.
Ross visited Notre Dame in November for its loss to Louisville. The outcome of the game didn’t prevent him from learning about the entire ND experience. Ross also visited South Bend in June.
“They've really shown me everything about Notre Dame,” Ross said. “I love everything about it. It's flattering. You can't go wrong with Notre Dame. It's in a spot where you're not going to be around a lot of crazy things. At the same time you're going to be around some of the best educators for a great education and playing Notre Dame football.”
Ross plans to visit both Oregon and Arizona State in January after announcing his verbal commitment. USC, the perceived favorite, has hosted Ross multiple times.
“They've done the same thing Notre Dame has done. They've really shown me what Southern California is about,” Ross said. “They showed me the academic side and I already knew about the football side of it. Both USC and Notre Dame are two teams that are going upward.”
With so many recruiting analysts expecting Ross to pick USC, the drama might be lacking on Saturday. Regardless of his choice, it will be an important moment for Ross.
"It's going to be a dream come true and a big ole lift off my shoulders,” he said.
But has he already made up his mind? After a long pause, Ross said Wednesday afternoon he hadn’t quite settled on a decision.
"It's going to be where my heart really wants to go,” Ross said. “I'm just going to follow my heart and wherever my prayers lead me to."