7 Derek Ross

Derek Ross Ohio State
usa United States
Rock Hill, SC
High School
Current Team
Ohio State
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001

Post-OSU Update: Derek Ross left Ohio State after the 2001 season, forgoing a final year of eligibility. He was selected in the 3rd round (75th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Ross played three seasons in the NFL, starting nine games and recording five interceptions as a rookie in 2002. He was not liked by then-Cowboys coach Bill Parcels, who called Ross a “street player.” His son, Isaac Ross, has played college football for Charleston Southern and UMass. (updated Aug. 2022)

Jersey #: 7 (1999-01), 37 (1998)

Major: African-American and African Studies (1998), Undeclared (1999-00)

Weight: 197 (1999-00), 190 (1998)

2001 Media Guide: Derek Ross is the Buckeyes’ most experienced returning corner … played 166 minutes last year as the backup to David Mitchell and the nickel back … had his best year statistically with 37 tackles, including 32 solos … also had four tackles-for-loss, seven passes broken up and a pair of interceptions … good coverage back and a physical defender.

2000 Season: Was the third cornerback … also excelled on special teams … had a career-high seven tackles at Purdue, all solos.

2000 Media Guide: After a year off to concentrate on academics, Derek Ross returns to the Ohio State football program eager to reestablish himself as a defensive back and special teams standout. A natural athlete with 4.4 speed and the ability to bench press over 350 pounds, Ross was recruited by the nation’s elite programs to play quarterback or defensive back after an award-filled senior season in South Carolina. “Derek Ross is a tremendous talent,” Jon Tenuta, defensive backs coach, said. “He’s very athletic. He’ll be worked at both cornerback and safety and is an outstanding special teams player.

1999: Did not play – academics.

1999 Media Guide: Derek Ross is making the transition from being a highly sought-after and highly-regarded high school quarterback to playing defensive back in college. Secondary coach Jon Tenuta: “Derek is making the transition quite well. He is a tremendous talent. He showed much improvement this spring and he has the tools and the ability to work his way into a starting position.” Ross is challenging for a position at cornerback, but when he isn’t playing in the secondary , he has proven to be a major nuisance on special teams.

1998: Played in all 12 games for the Buckeyes and was honored as co-special teams player of the year by the OSU coaches at the conclusion of the season. Totaled 13 tackles including 10 solo tackles. Lead the team with three blocked kicks, including two huge blocks in the victories over Michigan and Texas A&M. Leading Michigan, 14-3, late in the second quarter, Ross blocked a Jason Vinson punt at the Michigan 20-yard line. Two plays later the Buckeyes led 21-3. Against Texas A&M with OSU leading, 14-3, he blocked a Shane Lechler punt that Kevin Griffin scooped up and ran in for a touchdown and a commanding 21-3 lead.

1998 Media Guide: Received high school All-American honors by numerous publications … blessed with outstanding speed and moves … an all-state quarterback who will play in the defensive backfield at Ohio State … had 15 career interceptions … carried Northwestern to a 12-3 record and a runner-up finish in the state playoffs … one of South Carolina’s top 10 prospects as a senior and the state’s offensive player of the year … scored 25 touchdowns as a junior … born Jan. 5, 1980.


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