It can never be said that Devin Ross lacks confidence.
Last weekend, not long after the Colorado Buffaloes christened the Folsom Field portion of their football schedule with a 37-3 victory against Texas State, Ross was informed he had surpassed the 100-reception mark for his career, a feat also achieved by Bryce Bobo in the same game.
Ross' immediate reaction was to lament the one pass he was unable to haul in along the sideline. Instead of reveling in the milestone, Ross also proceeded to set the bar as high as possible.
"We've just all got to keep going," Ross said. "Hopefully we all get 200 too."
While Ross, Bobo, and Shay Fields give the Buffs the rare luxury of three 100-catch athletes on the same roster with a fourth on the way (running back Phillip Lindsay owns 90 career receptions), Ross perhaps seemed like the least likely candidate to reach such a milestone when he arrived at CU. Fields made an immediate splash with 50 receptions as a freshman, and Bobo's 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame is more akin to that of a No. 1-type receiver than Ross' 5-foot-11, 185-pound stature.
Ross, though, took the road less traveled. He recorded just six receptions as a true freshman in 2013, CU's first season under coach Mike MacIntyre, and hamstring issues the following year forced Ross to accept a redshirt season. He emerged from that season on the sideline as a much improved practice performer, recording 25 receptions for 324 yards in 2015 before breaking out a year ago with 69 receptions for 787 yards and five touchdowns.
Ross enters this week's home date against Northern Colorado tied with Bobo for 15th-place on CU's career receptions list with 103. He ranks 17th in receiving yards with 1,201.
"With Devin, the most growth I've seen with him is his practice habits," said Darrin Chiaverini, CU's co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach. "Even since I got here, his practice habits have improved tremendously. If you want to play well on Saturdays, you have to be committed to the process every week. He's done a very good job this year even more so in that he's been very consistent in his work habits, taking care of his body, and about giving great effort in practice. If you do that, good things will happen for you."
As a fifth-year senior, Ross is one of the few players remaining on the Buffs' roster who originally was recruited by the staff of former coach Jon Embree.
Ross admits he originally had second thoughts as to whether he would follow through on his verbal commitment to the Buffs by signing his letter of intent. Yet after visiting campus once again after MacIntyre took over, Ross reaffirmed his desire to become a Buff. Now the idea that he could have missed out on last year's worst-to-first run to the Pac-12 Conference South Division title, or making his mark among CU's all-time leading receivers, feels inconceivable.
"(Embree) got fired and everybody wanted me to de-commit. They already were doing bad and the coach got fired, and they thought that was a double-whammy," Ross said. "I took a visit when coach Mac first got here and I just loved the environment, I loved the coaching staff, and I loved all the players I was there with.
"It was just God's plan for me to be here and I'm so glad that I've had the career that I've had."