Nov. 20, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. - Rocky Ross has been a fixture at wide receiver for the Knights over the past five years. He is now a team captain, one of the leading receivers in UCF history, and a college graduate working on a master's degree. UCFAthletics.com caught up with Ross for a Q&A prior to what I sure to be an emotional Senior Day for the Jacksonville native.
You have battled through injuries regularly here, where does that perseverance come from?
"When you go through all this you don't want to sit on the sideline, that's pretty much it. You put a lot of time and effort into the season, so when you're hurt but can kind of go, then you're going to want to go. Personally when you have a nagging injury it bothers you every now and then."
How would you assess your play this year as the team's second-leading receiver?
"I never really set personal goals for myself because if you don't accomplish it, then what? But I think Brett (Hodges) has come in and done a good job of getting every receiver the ball, which is something I like to see. I think not just this season, but the past, I feel I've been pretty happy with what I've done here. I've made a lot of good friends. I don't look at it how I've played but more how you go out as a team, what your final record is and what you leave here for this program."
What did it mean to you to be named a team captain and the only one on offense?
"The biggest thing is it's your teammates doing that. Not just me but Cory Hogue and Torrell Troup, I think we are honored our teammates think of us like that. I think we're just thankful and honored that is how they think of us."
You caught the game-winning TD against Marshall with 0:23 to play on ESPN, UCF's only score against Miami, the game-tying TD vs. USF in the final minute to force overtime, what is it that lets you go such great things on big stages under pressure?
"The quarterback I guess, just throwing me the ball. I think with any athlete, you can feel it coming. Both those times we were coming from behind and everybody's juiced up for the ball. I was just thankful the ball came to me those two times and those are definitely memories I will take with me forever because that's fun to be a part of and you're just thankful they happened to you. "
What has it meant being from Jacksonville to have had your family be there constantly for you during your time at UCF?
"That was one of the biggest reasons to come here was for the family so they could easily see the games. I think our tailgate has gotten pretty popular around here with a lot of the families like the Bustillos and the Browns, Pat Brown's family used to come out there. A lot of teams families come out, Players families come out. You get to see family you don't get to see a lot once a week, so I think it is something that brings us all closer together, which is something extremely special to have in a family."
What will you remember most fondly about your time here and what will you miss the most?
"What will I miss the most? Not dealing with the real world. Being able to hang out with the guys and just being able to go out, be social, meet people, play ball with the guys. But what I'll remember the most is I think just the friends you make. I made a lot of friends here and we've connected pretty well off the field so I will miss that the most too if we don't keep in touch. The people you meet here are pretty interesting. It's pretty cool to keep in touch with Brandon Marshall, Mike Walker, Kevin Smith, but just meeting people - guys from Texas and I'm from Florida - and we get along just great, so that's just fun to be a part of."
You have a bachelor's in criminal justice and are working on a master's in sports and fitness. What are your plans for life after football?
"We'll see what happens after the season. Hopefully I'll be training somewhere and see what could happen at the next level or anything like that. I'm realistic and I know it's not for everybody and I know you need some lucky breaks for that to happen but if I do get it that'd be great and I'd be thankful but if not you move on, that's why you go to school and graduate and study so hopefully get a job somewhere. We'll see what happens when the time comes."
What does it mean to be bowl eligible for your final season and still have a shot at the C-USA title?
"We have to take care of our part by winning these last two games. Then, just hope for a few good, some very lucky breaks happen and then we're in the championship game and we'll see what happens with that. It's pretty exciting to be bowl eligible, we've only been to two of them and I've been fortunate enough to be to both and it is very different, very fun to go to them and be in a completely different area practicing. It's something that a lot of these guys have earned the right to be a part of. It doesn't happen every year, so I'm glad a lot of them got to see what it was all about."