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Monday, June 18, 2012
Entrance Interview: James Ross

By Michael Rothstein

Entrance Interview is a series at WolverineNation -- similar to our Exit Interview series -- where we chat with incoming Michigan football and men's basketball players about their thoughts as they start college, what their expectations are, and what they'll miss most about high school.

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- James Ross (Orchard Lake, Mich./Saint Mary’s) is a teenager built like a man, muscle put together on top of muscle with baby fat all but eliminated. One of the players signed by Michigan in the Class of 2012, the 6-foot-1, 230-pound linebacker looks more like a 25-year-old who has spent a decade building his body instead of a high school student transitioning to college.

But Ross is about to be a freshman for the final time in his life later this month when he matriculates at Michigan. WolverineNation caught up with him at the Sound Mind Sound Body Academy to chat about his competitive streak, life with family, advice for his little brother and his love of the ladder.

James Ross
James Ross' competitive nature, and college-ready size, will serve him well as a freshman.
WolverineNation: What has life been like the past few months? What have you been up to?

James Ross: “Life’s been great. Just trying to enjoying it while I can. My friend Terry Richardson and I, we’ve just been working out together. Just a lot of footwork type stuff, agility, getting quicker. And then in the weight room, too.”

WN: What have you been working on specifically? Any drills that stand out?

JR: “My big thing is the ladder. I love the ladder. That’s probably the thing where I can move as quick as I can. Stay on the ladder, a lot of cone drills. What I like to do is lift like a lineman but do drills like a DB. That’s part of my game.”

WN: Have you been killing yourself with that? It sounds brutal.

JR: “Nah, it’s the mindset I’ve been taking. I like the fact that you come back home super tired. I like that feeling, like you actually did something.”

WN: Beyond football, what have the past few weeks been like as you’ve realized you’re about to be a college student?

JR: “I’ve just been spending time with my family a lot because they know I’m not going to be there as much as I am. Also, my brother who is out here, I’ve been trying to get him what I can while I’m still here. It’s not like I’m going too far, only 45 minutes away.”

WN: What does your brother, Joshua, play? What have you been telling him?

JR: “He plays linebacker and running back. I’ve just been trying to tell him to stay focused. He’s a 12-year-old right now but he looks like a man. I keep forgetting he’s 12 years old. He’s got a baby mindset about him but he’s built like a man so it’s kind of funny.”

WN: What are you most looking forward to when you get up to Michigan?

JR: “Living on my own. That’s something I’m looking forward to. Not that I wanted to, nothing like that, nothing against my mom. I just want to see how that goes.”

WN: Have you always wanted to do that? When did it set in that it would?

JR: “These past few weeks. Getting a little bit more freedom than I usually do because I’m going to be in college a few weeks from now. It’s not really I want to leave her but having that freedom and responsibility also.”

WN: What have the coaches told you they are expecting from you next year?

“They just tell me be expecting to play. They need us -- me, Terry, Royce [Jenkins-Stone] -- they got us up there for a reason. They are expecting us to do something up there and they are going to give us all the opportunities to play, but it’s up to us if we’re going to fulfill what they want and need.”

WN: What will you miss the most?

JR: “I’m a very family-oriented person and I’m always with them. If not my mom or my dad it’s my grandparents, my cousins, everybody. We have fun together, little family events. Every holiday we’ll play a baseball game or kickball game.”

WN: Who is the best?

JR: “It’d have to be me. I’m ultra competitive so when I’m out there you’ve got my grandma out there but I still don’t want to lose.”

WN: Have your parents had to tell you to pull back because of grandma?

JR: “Not really. They just look at me like I’m crazy a little bit but I’m a competitive person.”

WN: Are they planning on coming up all the time?

JR: “They haven’t said anything but the way my dad is in my life, this is a big transition for him also. I don’t know what he’s going to do. It’s going to be funny to figure that out. He’ll probably be up there knocking on my door a couple times.”

WN: What weight do you think you’ll be as a senior?

JR: “I don’t know. 230, I put on 230 and don’t feel anything different. I think I could go up to 240, 245 by senior year but carrying it the right way.”