Justyn Ross looked destined to become a first-round pick at one point in his standout career at Clemson, only to see his stock fall so low he wasn’t drafted at all. Ross, who had an excellent freshman year at Clemson, played a huge role on the national championship team that season — showcasing his tremendous potential when he’s on the field.
Ross was born with a congenital fusion in his spine that he underwent surgery for in 2020. The wide receiver had his procedure on his neck, but the condition — which recommends avoiding physical contact — caused teams to be skeptical on his long-term playing future.
The Kansas City Chiefs took a chance on Ross, which was the perfect fit for him.
“Just having Patrick Mahomes, great quarterback, Andy Reid, great coach,” Ross said Sunday at Chiefs rookie minicamp. “The receiver room, it feels like a family here. I’ve only been here for like a day, but they treat me like family.”
Ross had 46 catches for 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns in his freshman season at Clemson, averaging 21.7 yards per catch. He followed that up with 66 catches for 865 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 13.1 yards per catch — the year before his surgery.
After having the 2020 season to recuperate, Ross returned to coach 46 passes for 514 yards and three touchdowns in 2021, averaging 11.2 yards per catch. He declared for the 2022 draft in January, but wasn’t selected.
There’s a chip on Ross’ shoulder due to the fact he was passed on 262 times in the draft, including the Chiefs on multiple occasions. He’s ready to prove the Chiefs taking a chance on signing him will pay off, especially since Kansas City is revamping its wide receiver position and there will be a spot or two open.
“Of course I’m ready to prove everybody wrong,” Ross said, “I’m just trying to feel my spot and play my part on the team. I’m just trying to fill my role and trying to get all the way the way I was.”