Richmond Native Debuts for Oakland Raiders
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Oct 2, 2012, 17:00
RICHMOND — Brandian Ross, a former cornerback at Meadowbrook High School and Youngstown State University, signed with the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League on Sept. 19, the team announced.
Ross had been suiting up on the Green Bay practice squad.
Inked to add depth to Oakland’s injury-riddled secondary, the Richmond native joined Dion Foxx as the only Meadowbrook alumni to play in the NFL when he made his debut last Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“It’s really a testament to Brandian and his work ethic,” Meadowbrook coach Troy Taylor said of the milestone.
The 6-1, 191-pound cornerback has established a reputation as an imposing defender, but Taylor said that has not always been the case. Taylor, who was an assistant when Ross graduated in 2006, said Ross didn’t start for the Monarchs until midway through his junior year.
“As a freshman, he was so small,” Taylor said. “He played cornerback, but he could hardly even hold the football. He’s a really good kid, he’s smart and he worked his tail off to get where he is.”
Despite an impressive senior year on the football field and doubling as a hurdler in the offseason at the Central District’s northern-most school, Ross did not receive any scholarship offers from Virginia colleges.
Unfazed, Ross hushed his naysayers by replicating his workman-like success at the Football Championship Subdivision level.
He played in 45 games and registered 33 starts for the Penguins, garnering Second-Team All-Missouri Valley Conference honors in 2010. Ross amassed 135 solo tackles, seven interceptions, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles during his four years in Youngstown, Ohio.
That resume prompted Green Bay to sign Ross as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He started this season as a member of the Packers’ active roster, but never appeared in a game. He was released last month, clearing the way for the Raiders to claim him.
“In no way did anybody other than Brandian Ross think that he would go to the NFL,” Taylor said.