Avon Eagles' dual-threat Ross Douglas made his mark (Player of the Year)

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Avon running back Ross Douglas runs the ball across midfield against Midview in Grafton last season.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Avon running back Ross Douglas graduates with the school records for touchdowns, points scored and rushing touchdowns.

Despite coming up short of returning to the state championship this season, Avon’s Ross Douglas couldn’t be happier with the way the year turned out.

He stood out on both sides of the ball — as a running back on offense, and as a defensive back on defense. He rushed for over 1,000 yards this season, which included 20 touchdowns. On defense, he was a run and a pass stopper, while most teams wouldn’t even throw his way.

The Morning Journal Football Player of the Year helped lead the Eagles to their third-straight West Shore Conference title, and their third-straight playoff appearance.

“It’s definitely an honor to be named the Morning Journal Player of the Year, because I know you guys cover a lot of great players,” Douglas said. “I’m happy to be recognized as the top one out of all of them. It’s a big honor for me.”

After going 13-2 and bringing home a state runner-up trophy in 2011, the Eagles were one game away from making it back to state, but lost in the regional final. They finished the season with a 11-2 mark.

“I really have had a great time at Avon High School playing football with some of my best friends,” Douglas said. “Coach (Mike) Elder is one of the best coaches you can ask for. He’s taught me a lot about the game of football. He’s also taught me some lessons about being a human being as well. I couldn’t thank him enough for being the football player I am today.

“I also want to give a big shout out to my teammates. If I could, I would give them all my accolades. Without them, none of this would be possible.”

The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder rushed for over 1,000 yards this season, averaging nearly 10 yards per carry. He also scored 20 touchdowns for the season. He was the All-Lorain County Most Valuable Offensive Back of the Year, while also earning All-Ohio (D-II), All-WSC and All-Northeast Lake District First Team honors.

“Me and my fellow seniors had a great season together,” Douglas said. “Individually, I felt like I did my part to help my team win. As the season went on, I saw sophomores and juniors grow as young men and football players. I was excited to see the growth of our young guys.”

Despite being a star on both sides of the ball, Douglas will be playing strictly defensive back at Michigan. Douglas originally committed to Penn State, but after the University received a four-year postseason ban by the NCAA, the very next day, he decided to take the University of Michigan on its offer.

“I’m 100 percent ready, I’m so ready,” Douglas said. “I leave at the end of this month. I have an All-Star game out in California (Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl) and then January 7, I start taking classes at Michigan.”

Douglas had over 20 offers from Division I colleges, including Boston College, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee, Toledo, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Before the season, Douglas was ranked as one of the top 150 recruits in the nation and was invited to Nike’s The Opening at the company’s headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.

Douglas led the Eagles with 1,119 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior and helped Avon reach the Division II State Championship game for the first time in school history. The school was also ranked No. 1 in the state for the first time in school history.

Douglas played on the varsity his freshman season when the Eagles went 6-4. As a sophomore, the Eagles went 10-0 before losing to Sandusky in the regional semifinal. His junior year, they lost their season finale to Lake Catholic before reeling off four straight playoff games to reach the state final. This year, beside losing to Toledo Central Catholic in the regional final, their only other loss was to Avon Lake in Week 1.

Ross leaves Avon as the all-time leader in touchdowns scored (52), all-time points (312), all-time rushing TDs (50) and second all-time rushing yards (3,362).


Last Updated: 12/24/2012 7:26:09 PM EST

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