The health of Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross has been a point of emphasis among those closely monitoring the Tigers for over a year now.
On the brink of a full-go decision for fall camp, Ross has relished through his unfortunate circumstances and 'loves' his new leadership role, earned through hard work behind the scenes.
"There's a lot of mental reps," Ross said during spring practice on staying ready.
"It's a lot of being in the film room. Just getting a groove back because it's been a whole year since I've played ball. Just trying to get that groove back and get back familiar with the game."
With no final decision on Ross' return to full contact quite yet, he has spent a lot of his time growing into his sudden role as team leader going into his fourth year. Ross even mentions that as the two oldest players in the receiving room, Will Swinney and Ross have 'had fun' with their new roles with Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell off to the NFL.
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"I love it," Ross said. "I mean, this is one of my first times really leading a group because all the other groups I had Tee (Higgins), Amari (Rodgers), Cornell (Powell), all of them. But yeah, it feels good to finally lead the group."
After 2020 saw the receiver room thin as Dabo Swinney has ever seen due to injuries, the Tigers' head coach believes Ross looks 'phenomenal' even in non-contact work.
"He's done a really good job working within the parameters he's had on him," Swinney said in March.
After two seasons that saw Ross combine for 1,865 yards, with a national championship to boot as a freshman, Swinney and his staff were thrown into unknown waters in 2020, missing Ross, Ladson Jr., and Joseph Ngata for extended periods. 2021 sees the Tigers reloaded and fully healthy with depth even further below the aforementioned.
"He's doing everything from a training standpoint. He's not missing anything. Lifting, training, running, everything. We're just not letting him have contact. So, best-case scenario is when we start fall camp, (Ross) doesn't have that yellow jersey on."