In the midst of the Army All-American Bowl, four-star wide receiver/safety Ykili Ross announced his commitment to the University of Southern California, becoming the 20th prospect in the 2015 recruiting class.
"For the next three years I'll be attending the University of Southern California," Ross said on the live NBC telecast. "I just loved everything about it. Its a family school, and somewhere I wanted to be. Trojan Life forever!"
4-star WR/DB Ykili Ross commits to #USC. https://t.co/WqRurgKomR— Marshall Cherrington (@MWCherrington) January 3, 2015
While the announcement certainly caught national attention, Ross provides an instant spark as a dual-threat prospect that played on both sides of the ball at Riverside Poly. Ross caught 50 passes for 988 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, building off an impressive junior campaign over 900 yards. He also started and made a nice impact defensively, recording seven interceptions over his three-year varsity career.
Ross is expected to compete for playing time on both sides of the ball, but the depth at wide receiver could swing him right over to the defensive side of the ball for coach Keith Heyward. Keep in mind, however, Oregon is still scheduled to host an official visit in late January, one week before National Signing Day.
Many expect Ross to battle for playing time at the safety position joining a talented crop like Leon McQuay, John Plattenburg and Su'a Cravens. Either way, this is another good sign for the USC Football program with many more to come in the 2015 class.
Fans can follow him on Twitter: @TheRealYK_7.
Scouting by Derrell Warren, West Coast Recruiting Analyst (@yssd):
Ross is a versatile athlete who plays on both sides of the ball for his high school team. Most schools are recruiting the 6'2, 185-pound player on the defensive side as a cornerback, but he also flashes legitimate FBS ability as a wide receiver.
From a defensive perspective, Ross offers plus-level length. This is a trait that not only enables him to match up physically with bigger receivers, it also allows him to disrupt passing windows and challenge throws smaller corners wouldn't be able to. On tape, he primarily plays off-man coverage. He will have to rep his press technique in order to play to his natural strengths if defense is indeed the route his chooses at the next level. Ross displays loose hips, and this should allow him to mirror releases and transition cleanly out of his backpedal in order to lead vertical routes. Basically, this is the ability of a defender to maintain his cushion and almost in one motion immediately flip his hips and transition up-field upon recognition of a vertical release by the receiver.
Playing receiver, Ross flashes ability. However, he's not a burner who'll threaten defenses vertically or tilt coverage. He has pretty good functional speed that appears to be in the high 4.5 to low 4.6s, but most likely won't be able to simply pull away from college-level defenders in the open field.