That's why the Los Angeles native has a little extra bounce in his step when the Buffs play UCLA and USC. On Saturday, Ross and the Buffs (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) visit UCLA (2-2, 0-1) at the Rose Bowl.
"UCLA and USC, I take it personal because they didn't offer me (a scholarship) out of high school," Ross said. "I always take it personal when I play them."
Ross isn't alone.
Southern California is a recruiting hotbed for CU and several Buffs are from the area, including all three of the Buffs' top receivers - Ross, Shay Fields and Bryce Bobo.
While Ross and Fields both said they were USC fans growing up, it's special for them and the other California players to play a game in L.A.
"You want to go home, win in front of the fans, win in front of the teams that didn't offer you in California, or if they did it was probably late," Fields said.
Many of CU's California-born players will be battling against friends, adding another level of intensity to the matchup.
Ross, for example, might find himself lining up against UCLA corner Darnay Holmes, a player he's known for years.
"We played against a lot of them in high school and we know a lot of them from growing up," Ross said. "I like to take it personal, just go out there and compete and talk trash a little bit between the plays and get everything done in between the lines.
CU running back Phillip Lindsay understands the emotions the California-born players feel this week. Lindsay is from Denver and experiences a special level of intensity whenever the Buffs face Colorado State. He sees some added motivation for his California teammates this week.
"They have a little chip on their shoulder," Lindsay said. "We're going back to their home. For me, I'm blessed to be able to play here at least six times. This is going to be their first time going back home for a lot of months, so for them, it is a little chippy. On top of that, they have a lot of friends on those teams. You don't ever want your friend getting the best of you."
Those friendly rivalries may explain why CU and UCLA have such competitive and unique games in recent years. The past three meetings have been decided by a total of 17 points.
Rivalries aside, however, all the Buffs realize that job No. 1 is to get a win and rebound from last weeks' 37-10 loss to Washington.
"It's just a lot of athletes on the field, just out here competing and trying to make plays for themselves personally and for the team," Ross said. "We just have to come out and execute our game plan and hopefully come out victorious."
If the Buffs do win, it's a good bet that the California-born Buffs will play significant roles.
"We're ready to ball and the kids from Cali are going to show up," Lindsay said.
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.