The word family is thrown around a lot these days in college football.
But when Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen approached Fred Ross with that word in 2013, he meant it.
Ross had two cousins on the Bulldogs’ women’s basketball staff and those family ties helped lure away the four-star wide receiver from a year long commitment to Oklahoma State.
“To me, family is everything and knowing I had two cousins here helped make it a lot easier,” Ross said. “I knew that if I was ever feeling down I could go talk to them about it and they’d always be there for me. I took a visit here and loved it and since my family was here, that tied the knot.”
Ross took his official visit to MSU just days before national signing day and made the decision to flip his commitment just hours before he signed his letter of intent.
Aside from the family ties with women’s basketball manager Yasma Smith and former assistant coach Aqua Franklin, the small town feel of Starkville also appealed to the Texan.
“Tyler is a small town and there’s really not much to do,” Ross said. “It’s the same at Mississippi State, there’s not really much to get into except hang out with friends and family. That’s why I like it here.”
Ross made an immediate impact for the Bulldogs as a true freshman and has gone on to appear in 26 career games including four starts. He has caught 53 passes in his career for 745 yards and five touchdowns and also returned nine punts for 71 yards.
The 6-foot-2, 207-pounder is currently leading the Southeastern Conference with 14 catches for 141 yards from his position in the slot.
“It’s just our offense,” Ross said. “Teams are going to pay attention to ‘Bear’ (De’Runnya Wilson) so obviously it’s going to open up a lot of stuff on the inside for me.”
Ross hauled in a career-best nine balls for 66 yards against LSU last week but admits he would have traded his personal success if the Bulldogs could have pulled out the win.
“It’s demoralizing knowing that we should’ve won that game,” Ross said. “We missed out on some opportunities in the first half and missed some plays that we should’ve made. We just came up short.”