By Mark Clark
The honors kept rolling in for local athletes last week as Central’s Justyn Ross and Glenwood’s Cam O’Neil were selected as finalists in their respective divisions for Back of the Year. By receiving the selections, the two are also among 48 finalists for Alabama’s Mr. Football in 2018.
In addition to being a finalist for Mr. Football, Ross was also named to the AL.com Super All-State Football Team as a wide receiver. Ross is playing today in the annual Under Armour All-American Game today in Orlando, Fla. The game will be televised at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN.
O’Neil started two seasons at Glenwood and helped the Gators to two playoff trips. He is a finalist for the Alabama Independent School Association Back of the Year along with Escambia County athlete Fred Favors and Monroe Academyquarterback Griffin McKenzie.
The Glenwood senior who has signed to play next season with Pittsburgh made 44 catches for 705 yards with 10 touchdowns for Glenwood during the 2017 season. He had 75 catches for 638 yards with seven touchdowns as a junior.
Ross was a three-year starter at wide receiver for Central and led the Red Devils to the semifinals of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 7A playoffs in each of the last three seasons. He is currently uncommitted and will take official visits to Alabama, Auburn and Clemson before February’s National Signing Day. He is ranked as the No. 1 college prospect in Alabama.
As a senior, Ross made 37 catches for 730 yards with 13 touchdowns. His last catch as a Central player was for a touchdown in the Red Devils’ 28-27 loss to McGill-Toolen in the semifinals of the Class 7A playoffs. He was named to the Alabama team for the annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game earlier this fall.
Ross, 6-4 and 205 pounds, is joined as a finalist fore the Class 7A Back of the Year by Thompson wide receiver Ahmad Edwards and quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa.
The state’s Mr. Football will be named on Jan. 17 in Montgomery at the Alabama Player of the Year luncheon being hosted by the Alabama High School Coaches and Athletic Directors.