Football

St. Mary's LB Josh Ross ready for competition at Michigan

Orchard Lake St. Mary's linebacker Josh Ross signs on the dotted line to officially become a Michigan Wolverine on Wednesday after verbally committing in March 2016.

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s linebacker Josh Ross signs on the dotted line to officially become a Michigan Wolverine on Wednesday after verbally committing in March 2016.

Brother see, brother do.

In the case of Josh Ross, that is only partially true.

Ross, a linebacker and the No. 3-ranked high school football player in Michigan on the Detroit Free Press’ Fab 50 list, made his commitment to the Michigan Wolverines official this Wednesday morning, after verbally committing last March. He signed his national letter of intent alongside six other football teammates at a ceremony at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.

Many know that his older brother, James Ross, played linebacker at Michigan and had a tryout with the San Diego Chargers after finishing his college career in 2015.

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“My brother was probably the least pressured person in my life to be honest,” Josh Ross said about family recruiting efforts to become a Wolverine. “I would say my dad tried to pressure me a little bit, and my mom, too. My brother, he just wanted to see me succeed. He really loves me a lot, and he just wants to see me in the best situation I can possibly be in. And eventually he believed Michigan was the best situation, but he wanted me to pick what’s right for me, not just because he went there.”

Yet, St. Mary’s coach George Porritt saw it coming.

“Josh, pretty much since freshman year, it was looking like he would follow in his brother’s footsteps,” Porritt said by phone Tuesday. “They’re very close.”

Ross led the Eaglets in tackles his senior year.

Despite the family connection, Ross was watching the turmoil under former U-M coach Brady Hoke, whom Ross said he liked, but was even more impressed when Michigan landed Jim Harbaugh.

“I really was excited because you’ve got this great guy and great coach that’s flipped so many teams to being great,” Ross said. “It was a great feeling and I knew probably when Harbaugh got in there, I was going to Michigan for sure. That locked it in.

“The kids respect him so much. He would do anything for his kids no matter if he’s cussing somebody out or getting into somebody’s case; that he’s always going to be there for his players and do anything for them.”

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Ross said he likes how well the Michigan recruiting class has come into shape, with six U-M signees leading the Free Press’ Fab 50.

“I’m glad I’ve got some good friends that are coming in,” Ross said. “Donovan Peoples (No. 1) and Ambry Thomas (No. 2), they’re real cool friends to me. And it’s just great to see. When I (verbally) committed, not a lot of people had committed, but I knew we were going to have a good class just because of how great those coaches were and how great everybody was.”

Ross credited defensive coordinator Don Brown as a major influence to becoming a Wolverine.

“After I met Don Brown, that’s when I verbally committed, in March,” he said. “It was just the best fit for me, great coaches and I love them all. Every time I talked to (Coach Harbaugh) he’s a great guy, and I love him a lot. I love his energy and excitement. Love how he treats his players and how he’d go through a brick wall for them.”

Ross knows it will be tough to earn playing time early within one of the nation’s top defense, but he says he’s ready.

“I feed on competition,” Ross said. “That’s all I think about every day. Going into college and being the freshman, being the young guy, I want to compete and show what I can do and do my best and see where I lay with older guys. My freshman year (at OLSM) I was kind of put in that situation and I want to be put in the same situation again. It’s going to be really fun.”

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