Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys showing interest in Fred Ross, Dak Prescott’s top college target

The idea brought a smile immediately to Fred Ross.

A reunion with his college quarterback, Dak Prescott, in the NFL would be a dream come true.

There’s no question the Dallas Cowboys have some interest in Ross, the Mississippi State wide receiver, as they’ve met twice already at the Senior Bowl.

“Hopefully they pick me. It’d be nice to play in Texas,” said Ross, a Tyler John Tyler product.

“But, on draft day, you never know.”

Prescott certainly liked throwing to Ross in college.

Ross had his best season as a junior in 2015 with Prescott. They two hooked up for 88 catches and 1,007 yards with five touchdowns. This past season, Ross had 917 receiving yards on 72 receptions with 12 touchdowns.

Ross is pegged as a mid- to late-round pick and the Cowboys are expected to be in the wide receiver market with Terrance Williams and Brice Butler becoming unrestricted free agents.

“Watching tape on him, there isn’t much that separates him physically, but he is reliable,” said Dane Brugler, draft analyst for CBS Sports and NFLDraftScout.com. “If it was 3rd-and-7, you can bet the play design was to him. He lined up all over the formation in that offense, even taking some snaps out of the backfield to get him involved. Mostly basic routes in that offense, but he runs them well.

“Quick hands to pluck, but needs to eliminate the focus drops if he is going to secure a job in the NFL.”

Ross could also have some appeal to the Cowboys as a returner. He returned punts the past two seasons at Mississippi State, taking one in for a touchdown as a junior.

Cowboys returner Lucky Whitehead is under contract for next season, but hasn’t been the home-run threat as expected. Plus Whitehead drew the ire of the coaching staff when he showed up late to a meeting and ended up missing the Dec. 11 game at the New York Giants.

“I’m just a playmaker, man,” Ross said. “I’ll do anything to help my team win. I’ll go across the middle. I can catch the bubble screen and take it for six. I can go down the field. I can do it all.”

Ross will also have the endorsement of Prescott, who is serving as a mentor to him during the Senior Bowl. The two caught up via FaceTime after Tuesday’s practice.

“He just told me, man, go hard out there,” Ross said. “Don’t worry about anything and do the best you can do. Everything you do is being evaluated, so do it as hard as you can and do it as professional as you can.”

As far as Prescott’s sudden rise in the NFL, Ross isn’t too surprised to see it. After all, it’s similar to what he saw Prescott do at Mississippi State.

But even Ross understands how well Prescott did as a rookie in leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and the top-seed in the NFC.

“I’m not surprised he’s successful, but I mean c’mon now. C’mon now,” Ross said, smiling. “I think everybody is a little shocked by what he did. He took over the league by storm. I’m proud of him, man, he’s works so hard for it. Everything he worked for is falling into place for him and I’m proud of him.

“He’s always been a huge student of the game. If the game speeds up, he’ll speed up his learning process. It’s shocking to see it because I just played with him last year, but I’m not surprised by it.”

Ross also feels that Prescott’s success at Mississippi State prepared him for the attention he’s received in the NFL. Nobody was a bigger rock star in Starkville, Mississippi than Prescott, and his popularity has only grown by leading America’s Team.

“He’s used to it, man,” Ross said. “The way it was in college helped him for everything being thrown at him now.

“He’s on a bigger pedestal, but he’s always been relaxed and poised. I think he’s just translating that to the NFL and he ain’t missing a beat. He’s got it rolling. … And as much success as he’s had, he’s still very humble.”

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram