SAN JOSE, Calif. — From Phenix City, Ala., to college football’s biggest stage, the next time Justyn Ross plays a football game, he will be competing against his home-state university — the University of Alabama in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
The athletic, 6-foot-4 wide receiver has made a name for himself in a very short amount of time. In his first season, Ross ranked second on the team in both receiving yards and touchdowns as he had 847 yards and eight touchdowns.
The former Central High School star also shined in the College Football Playoff Cotton Bowl semifinal game on Dec. 29, where he had a 52-yard as well as a 42-yard touchdown. The freshman totaled 148 yards in the game which helped lead Clemson to a 30-3 victory over Notre Dame.
With his first regular season in the books, the reserved and extremely humbled Ross admits he never anticipated having this much success so early on in his college career.
“I’m still shocked by everything that’s going on,” he said at Saturday’s media day. “It’s kind of still mind blowing to me, how much success that I’m having but I’m glad my team is here and I feel like we deserve it.”
“I expected to come in and make a couple of plays,” Ross said. “But I didn’t anticipate anything like this.”
When Ross committed to Clemson 11 months ago, many were shocked by his choice in schools and he has said before, some were disappointed he chose Clemson over Alabama.
With a national title at stake in Monday’s game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., and a chance to play the school many pushed for him to go to, Ross doesn’t let the pressure get to him.
“It’s just another game,” he said. “People think that just because it’s Alabama and that’s where I’m from, it adds fuel to the fire but it’s just another game to me.”
Among many other positive attributes, it’s the Clemson culture that stands out to Ross the most and something that attracted him to Clemson in the first place.
“I’ve been here (at Clemson) for six months and I feel like I’ve been here forever just by the way that they treat me,” Ross said. “Just by the type of coaches that they have, you have no choice but to fit in and act just like them.”