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2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Kai Ross, DB, Lindenwood University

Kai Ross the standout defensive back from Lindenwood University recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Justin Berendzen.
Kai Ross the standout defensive back from Lindenwood University recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Justin Berendzen.
  • Name: Kai Ross
  • Position: DB
  • College: Lindenwood University
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 205 lbs
  • Twitter: @kai_ross21
  • Instagram: @kaimrosss

What made you decide you wanted to be a football player?

I don’t think it was one thing that made me want to be a football player but I know I wanted to start early. I remember being in elementary school asking my parents to play and them pushing it down the road. They said I could play when I was thirteen and when I finally turned thirteen I forced their hand and I’ve been in love with the game ever since.

What are your favorite moments from your football life?

In high school I played in the CIF finals and we won. That moment was unbelievable. In college the moments that have stuck out to me are less about the games played and more about the people I have met. From Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to Lindenwood my teammates and coaches have helped make me into the person I am. Weirdly seeing all your teammates at 5:30 am before practice is some of the funniest moments I’ve ever had.

What sets you apart from other defensive backs?

My football knowledge has allowed me to be the player I am today. I don’t think I will ever run a 4.2 or jump a 40 in vertical but I will study the film and the game better than my opponent. I don’t lack athleticism but being able to anticipate and read the offense based on film study allows me to play as fast as the fast guys.

What type of energy do you bring onto the football field?

My teammates call me old man or grandpa but the game makes me feel young. I love bringing a light and fun attitude to the pregame. A lot of players, especially young players, feel like this game is all we have. They forget we are playing a game. I found that in my experience, the players that have the most fun during a game usually play the best. That aside, you won’t have to listen carefully to the game if you wanna hear me.

If you could hang out with any football player past or present for a day who and why?

Sean Taylor. I idolize his game even though I wouldn’t say our style of play is the same. The way he played the game is just something that gives you the chills. Watching a man that big play so athletic but also be the toughest player on the field. I wear 21 because of how much his legacy means to the game of football.

How do you prepare for games?

Most of my game prep is film study. Aside from film study, it’s keeping the energy up during the week. A lot of people think that after the first game that practice matters less. I am a rep guy. Not getting a good look or people not trying during the service periods will get me going. I want to see the concepts as close to full go as possible. Later in the week, I like to relax. I have been playing football for more than half my life, I never want to make the game feel more important than it is.

What should we know about Kai Ross the person?

I guess I can just tell you my favorite quote from my quarterback coach Juston Wood, who is now the TE coach at Arizona State, “When it is time to have fun, have the most fun. When it is time to be serious, be the most serious.”

What is your favorite coverage and why?

Cover 1 on the ceiling is always fun and quarters is always a good time. I guess it is a tie. I haven’t played on the ceiling since 2019 so I hope I get to play some this year.

How do you handle challenges both in life and on the football field?

It took me a while but I finally came to the realization that the only thing to do is what has to be done. It doesn’t matter how you feel about it, why it happened or if it is right. If you have to do it, you have to do it. What are you going to do? Is the motto I have adopted.

What would a team get in a player like you?

I think I would be someone that could contribute anyway possible. I do not think I would be overwhelmed by the playbook and I have played on special teams my whole career. I will be able to play without thinking when camp starts and have no problem doing the dirty work.

What are you looking forward to in your upcoming season?

The chance to prove a lot of people wrong. I do not think there is a single person outside of our locker room that thinks we are going to do anything. We have had a great start to our summer and I know as a whole we all have something to prove.

Who is the most underrated player you’ve played with and why?

Drew Seers, without a doubt. Despite winning many awards in D2, Drew didn’t get a call after draft day. I am obviously not a scout and I know numbers matter but I have never seen a guy play sideline to sideline as fast as that man. Was second on our team in INTs last year and he is a guy I would follow off a cliff.

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