Athlete of the Month September: Leonard Ross


Izy Scott, Pulse Editor

When Leonard Ross ‘15 steps onto the field, his usual joking, sociable attitude is completely transformed into a focused and poised football powerhouse, ready to take on any opponent. Not only has the LT community witnessed this transformation from inviting to intimidating, but so has the Miami of Ohio football coaching staff. This past August, Ross verbally committed to play at Miami of Ohio in order to pursue his goal of becoming a college student-athlete. “When I went to Miami [of Ohio] the campus was so beautiful,” Ross said. “Then I heard about the new coaching staff and they came in and introduced me to everyone. Academically, it’s a great school. It’s hard to graduate from Miami of Ohio and not be successful somewhere in life. It’s a win-win situation for me.” Ross said he had interest in Big Ten schools like Purdue, Indiana and the University of Illinois, but decided Miami will be the right combination of athletic and academic opportunity. Despite the losses Miami faced on the field during conference last season, Ross is still confident in the new direction the team plans to take under former Notre Dame offensive coordinator, Chuck Martin. “They said they needed a lot of help with running backs, so I’m hoping to see the field my freshman year,” Ross said. Training hard with his LT teammates has kept Ross ready for college play, but the more pressing goal for Ross and the team this season requires only five letters: state. “Knowing that college football is right around the corner is exciting, but right now I’m more excited about our LT season.” Ross said. Being one of LT’s four player-voted captains, (along with Joe Dillon ’15, Blaze Nacker ’15 and Dante Stefanini ‘15) Ross is responsible for keeping his teammates in line and ready to achieve their winning goals for the season. With three years of varsity experience and a J. Kyle Braid award, he is well prepared for the pressures of being a captain. “If we [as captains] see someone slipping, we call them out, including ourselves,” Ross said. “We always make sure that we know what we’re doing so that when someone asks questions, we can answer.” Nacker thinks the captains have been meshing together well, and after playing with Ross since freshman year, has noticed his leadership abilities on and off the field. “Whenever I’m with him off the field, it’s all joking and having a fun time but then as soon as we’re on the field ready to play a game, he’s in a very serious mood and wants to get the job done,” Nacker said. Head coach Kurt Weinberg has also known Ross sine freshman year, coaching him for three-plus seasons, and saw potential in Ross early on. “It was his combination of speed, size and athletic ability,” Weinberg said. “He’s a full package player and he’s also very intelligent. He has all the attributes you want in a great player.” Seeing him lead almost every day at practices and games, Weinberg is pleased with Ross’ leadership as captain. He also thinks that Miami of Ohio was a great decision for Ross, who has appreciated the knowledge he’s gained from his coaches over the years. “[Freshman year] I didn’t really get the concept of the coaches being hard on me because in my mind back then, I was very immature, but now I see they’re great teachers helping me in life because that’s how life is,” Ross said. “It’s going to be down on you, but you have to pick up from that. I appreciate them for that.” Lucky bracelets on, pre-game prayers recited and a blue and gold 33 on his jersey, Ross will take the field this season ready to defeat the opposition alongside his teammates and coaches. “He’s an all-around great kid,” Weinberg said. “He’s a good student, he’s a good person, and he’s a good football player. He’s all-around somebody we’re proud to have in our program.”