He's narrowed it down to the two in-state schools. Now, all he has to do is pick which one. But before he jumps to a quick decision, Homewood (Ala.) four-star offensive lineman David Ross wants to see each school numerous times.
On Saturday, the 6-foot-4, 295-pounder took an unofficial visit back to Auburn for the Tigers' first practice in full pads. He was joined on the trip by his parents. Ross was very impressed with what he saw from the 2005 team compared to what he saw of them in the spring.
"It went good. I got to sit down and talk to everybody," said Ross, who is rated the No. 9 overall prospect in AuburnSports.com's Top 40. "That was the first practice I've seen since the spring. I'm impressed with how far along the offensive line is and the whole team is. During the spring they weren't getting the yardage they were on Saturday and that defense is awesome."
Ross went to Auburn to see the practice, but also got to talk with several Tiger players as well as the entire coaching staff.
"I talked to everyone on the staff," he said. "I have a good relationship with all of them. I talked to (All-American offensive lineman) Marcus McNeill for a little bit. He told me that I have a great opportunity to play for a big-time SEC school early. I also talked to (former Auburn center) Jeremy Ingle and he gave me the low-down on (offensive line) coach (Hugh) Nall and how he approaches coaching.
"I also talked to T.J. (Jackson), Stanley (McClover) and his dad. I talked to a lot of people and had a good time."
Following the two-hour practice session, Ross went to the athletic complex where he and his parents all spoke with the coaches including head coach Tommy Tuberville on a more personal level.
"I talked to coach Tuberville for a while and (recruiting) coach (Terry) Price," he said. "With coach Tuberville, we talked about a lot of things not pertaining to football. He's a nice guy and I really do like him a lot.
"I love the coaching staff at Auburn," he added. "They are incredibly down to earth. They are genuine in what they are saying and you see what you get. I like that. I don't want a bunch of smoke blown in my face."
Following an hour-long discussion with Tuberville, Ross and his parents then met with Nall. The coach and recruit spent much of the afternoon together talking and watching film.
"We watched some film of that day's practice, the blitz pick-ups and things like that," he said. "We talked about what position I would play, center or guard, and how the center spot would open up next year (with the graduation of senior Steven Ross)."
Ross' relationship with Nall is a big reason why the Tigers are one of his top two schools.
"I could definitely sit down with that guy at anytime and feel comfortable talking with him about anything," he said.
Getting to see the Auburn program from the inside and talking with all of the coaches allowed Ross to get a feel of the philosophy of the staff. It's one that he is very impressed with.
"I am very high on Auburn and the way they do things," he said. "They found a philosophy towards football and it works incredibly well. I am really high on Auburn right now."
As for his parents, Ross said they enjoyed the trip to the Plains as much as he did.
"They love Auburn as much as I do," he said. "They could be content with me going there."
The trip was helpful not only for Auburn and its chances of landing Ross, but for the big-time recruit as well.
"I think it was helpful for me," he said. "I think when I make my decision it will be with all questions answered."
Ross already plans to be back in Auburn this weekend for the Tigers' scrimmage on Saturday. He also is scheduling an unofficial visit Sept. 3 for the season-opener against Georgia Tech.
"I will be there this weekend and then for the Georgia Tech game," he said. "I like being down there and being around those guys and seeing good football. They definitely have good football down there and it's fun to watch."
Although Ross was blown away by his trip, he is still reluctant to name a leader among Auburn and Alabama.
"They are still head-to-head," said Ross. "I'm going to have to wait until I go to some games in September."
With a 3.4 GPA and a 21 on the ACT, Ross projects as a full qualifier.
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