Westover defensive back Nytrellis Ross, fourth from left, is surrounded by friends and family after signing with Cumberland (Tenn.) University. Ross played through a dislocated shoulder this season and still managed to earn a scholarship to the NAIA school.
ALBANY — It would have been easy for Nytrellis Ross to quit — so very, very easy.
Pain mingled with frustration, and both refused to go away. And then there was the absolute aggravation of having his shoulder literally pop out of its socket again and again.
He dislocated it nine times.
But Ross is a kid of faith, a down-home Christian who can quote the scriptures with ease. He’s a young man of character and resolve with a passion for his own Christianity. It was there in Proverbs that he found the words and strength to keep going when everyone was telling him to stop.
He could have easily given up on his senior season of football and opted for shoulder surgery, but Ross bounced back from every setback and managed to play in six games at Westover.
Maybe that’s why when he sat down on Thursday to sign a letter of intent to accept a scholarship to Cumberland University, it was almost a day of rejoicing for the Westover defensive back.
“When I signed, I was extremely happy. It was just a blessing,’’ Ross said. “Going through those times when I was discouraged and taking the risk of continuing to play with my shoulder the way it was. That made signing with Cumberland feel like it was a reward.’’
Ross dislocated his shoulder before the first game of the season and was told to have surgery and sit out his senior year, but he decided to play through the pain.
“Early on I was a bit discouraged when my shoulder kept coming out,’’ Ross said. “When you are going through this kind of discomfort, you just have to pick yourself up. I decided I would work hard and trust God.’’
Ross saw his stock rise with colleges when he went to a camp in Atlanta for unsigned seniors in late February. He impressed a lot of schools with his size, speed and savvy.
“After the camp my phone was ringing off the hook,’’ Ross said. “There were a lot of schools that were interested. The first school that offered me a scholarship was Cumberland’s rival, the University of the Cumberlands.’’
Ross, who has a 3.5 GPA, is planning on majoring in business. He said he was as impressed with the academic side of Cumberland as he was with the football opportunity and the way the coaches treated him on his visit.
Ross visited both Cumberland and the University of the Cumberlands, and said he felt at home at Cumberland, an NAIA school in Lebanon, Tenn.
“At the end of the day I just asked God if this is where he wanted me to be and to show me a sign, and He did. He made me feel at home there when I got out of the car,’’ Ross said.
Ross said he also felt Cumberland was the right choice because during the season Cumberland kept in touch with him.
“They were with me the whole time through everything,’’ Ross said. “That showed loyalty from them to me.’’
Cumberland knew what kind of player Ross was.
“They liked what they saw of him on film, and they liked his character,’’ Westover coach Octavia Jones said. “He’s a real good cover guy, and they liked his size (6-foot and 190 pounds) and his speed (4.7 in the 40), and his determination and work ethic makes him special. He has the work ethic and attitude to never quit.’’