Fred Ross' intrigue with the Oklahoma State football program began long before he ever had a scholarship offer from the team, or even visited the campus.
It began with a photograph on the wall of his coach's office when Ross was a freshman at John Tyler High School in Tyler, Texas.
The photo of a player in a No. 1 Oklahoma State jersey quickly grabbed Ross' attention. His favorite player, Dez Bryant, was wearing No. 1 at OSU at that time.
But the man in the photo was Ricklan Holmes, who finished his Cowboy career in 2002. During Ross' freshman season, Holmes was in his second year as a defensive backs coach at his alma mater, John Tyler, and he just finished his first season as the team's head coach.
“He saw that photo, and he had been looking up to Dez, so ever since then, he's been intrigued by OSU. He's been asking me about them ever since,” Holmes said. “I worked a football camp up there at OSU two years ago, and Ross came with me to go to the camp, so he got to see all the facilities.”
Bryant came from Lufkin, Texas, which is about 80 miles south of Tyler. Ross is cut from a similar mold at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds. And he has seen the star potential OSU creates for its receivers, especially recently with the likes of Bryant and Justin Blackmon.