This summer, Illinois native Ryan Ross wasn’t on very many radars nationally.
Ross is a 5’11 shortstop with offers from Northwestern Missouri and Xavier, but he hasn’t been interested in doing many showcases and hadn’t gotten his name out there. By chance, one particular summer game in July caught the attention of Mississippi State pitching coach Gary Henderson.
“I didn’t go do all the showcases. My travel team went to Nashville at the end of July. In the fourth game, I rolled my ankle and my coach didn’t want me to play but I did. That day was when Mississippi State came to see us play,” Ross said.
“Coach Henderson saw me and I had a couple of two-strike singles the other way. I stole a base or two and made a couple of plays. He liked that a lot.”
That afternoon earned the talented 2019 prospect a trip to Starkville in August. Before he got there, he didn’t know much about the Bulldogs outside of the baseball program.
“I knew they were in the SEC and the runner up for the National Championship in 2013. That’s about all I knew until I got ore information from the coaches.
“Coach (Andy) Cannizaro was in his first year and they won over 40 games and went to the Super Regionals losing to LSU. Brent Rooker was the Triple Crown winner and drafted in the first round this past year.”
His trip to MSU opened his eyes to even more, however. When all was said and done, he left committed and prepared to come play for Cannizaro in two years.
“Once I got down there it was a great atmosphere with nice weather which is always nice,” Ross said. “All the coaches greeted me right away and it was a family atmosphere. It was a beautiful campus with great facilities and great academics. I wanted a place I could play baseball at a high level and get a great education and that fit the bill.”
What did Cannizaro like about Ross the most?
“He sees me as a guy that will work for a job in his program,” Ross said. “They want to bring in competitive players and they see me as that.”
Ross can play either of the middle infield spots but projects highly at short stop. The York High School junior is one of 13 players in the 2019 class in a group that ranges from seven different states including New Jersey, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida.