Andy Ross: Representing Hokies in the NFL

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Four long years ago, TSL ran an interview with Andy Ross, a sports
agent with the Octagon Agency. A Virginia Tech grad, Ross represents several
high-profile NFL players, including four Hokies. His four Tech clients are
Xavier Adibi, Duane Brown, Brandon Flowers and Macho Harris. Ross checks in to
update their status, as well as to describe his relationship with them.

Andy Ross grew up in Northern Virginia, as well as the Outer Banks, NC. He is
a 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech. He was a walk-on on the wrestling team, and he
also worked in the athletics department. To read his original interview with TSL,
click here.

1) Which former Tech players are you currently representing? What is
expected of them in the upcoming season?

Xavier Adibi – He did great this offseason gaining weight and getting
stronger (he’s up to 242 now). I spoke to the team on Monday and they are
thrilled with his progress and even mentioned that he has some of the fastest
closing speed they’ve ever seen. He is currently #1 on the depth chart,
but in a battle with Zac Diles for the starting WLB position. When Xavier
was healthy last season, he displayed great instincts. He was named to the
All-Rookie team last year and should improve now that he is starting the season
healthy.

Duane Brown – Duane was the Texans’ first round pick last year and really
worked hard this offseason. He lost some weight and got much quicker on
his feet. The Texans told me that he is getting better every day and it
really helps that he goes against Mario Williams daily in practice. As
Duane says, “It’s always good when you go against one of the best in the
league on a daily basis.” He has the left tackle spot locked down and
is looking to improve on his pass blocking this season. He approaches each
day wanting to get better and I believe the Texans will be a sleeper this season
because their line is becoming one cohesive unit.

Brandon Flowers – KC went through a major overhaul this offseason with a
new coach and GM. Brandon knew he had to work hard this offseason because
he needed to impress a new set of people. He didn’t disappoint.
Their GM, Scott Pioli is raving about him and thinks he is a model NFL
player. He works hard on the field and in the film room. They are
going to have a more aggressive defense this year and I believe Brandon’s stats
will benefit (especially with interceptions). He is a gamer and I wouldn’t
be shocked to hear that he is being considered for the Pro Bowl in his 2nd
season.

Macho Harris -Macho is in Philly playing for the Eagles. They
love his versatility and his game changing mentality. Right now they have
him playing safety, but also figure to use him as a nickel cornerback as
well. Macho started off strong after getting two interceptions in his
first two NFL practices. Unfortunately he sprained his ankle and was
sidelined for a few days, but he is back now going full speed. I expect
him to get a bunch of playing time this preseason to showcase his skills.
He’s another VT corner in the NFL that has the skills to change the game in one
play (is VT considered CB U now?)

2) Describe the interactions you have with your clients, particularly the
former Hokies?

I’m fortunate that I’m one of the younger agents in the business (at
32). This gives me the ability to have commonalities with the guys.
Don’t let that fool you though because it’s always business first. I’ve
been in the business since 1995 so I have similar experience to some of those 40
something agents.

I really like representing Hokie players because as a former Hokie myself, I
have a genuine passion for the program. I’m always talking Hokie games and
even some recruiting with them. As an example, Flowers and I were talking
a bunch about the corner from his old high school (Jayron Hosely). I kept
telling Brandon that he had to come to CB U…haha.

The coaches at VT have really become elite recruiters and the talent is so
deep now. It’s amazing to see how far the program has come. I
remember the three and four win seasons. It’s always nice to see what
Beamer has built with the program.

3) What’s your opinion on the draft status of current Hokies, such as Sergio Render,
Kam Chancellor, Stephan Virgil, etc?

It’s hard to evaluate each player’s draft status because so much can change
during the course of the year. I can say that VT’s extremely deep in
talent and NFL scouts will be all over their games and practices. The
draft is broken up into a few categories: (1) football play – game film shows
how each player competes and stacks up to other competition, (2) character – the
NFL is much more concerned with a player’s character now than ever before.
Teams are investing millions of dollars in salaries and they want to ensure
there aren’t any distractions or suspensions that could keep them from playing,
(3) post season all star games – whether it’s the Senior Bowl or the Shrine
Bowl, the seniors get to showcase their skills against the other top players
around the country. Duane was an example of a player that really saw his
stock rise after his week at the Shrine Bowl, and (4) NFL Combine – this can be
make or break for the players. The NFL is defined by size, speed and
strength. The Combine helps scouts and GM’s project how a player will
compete at the next level.

Sorry to digress, but as you can see, with all those factors going into a
player’s draft grade, things can change positively or negatively pretty quickly.

In watching VT over the years, I’ve seen many of their seniors grow and
mature as players. Virgil has amazing instincts and skills, Render can be
the top guard in the draft, Kam has a scary size and speed combination with the
ability to punish receivers and running backs and Ed Wang is going to rise up
the boards this year (like Duane Brown did).

4) Which other players do you represent that Tech fans might be familiar
with?

I have a few guys in the league that I represent either by myself or with my
colleagues Mike Sullivan and Ken Landphere. Some of those players are Quentin
Jammer, Nathan Vasher, Mark Setterstrom, Adam Terry and Will Franklin.
This year I had a great rookie class of Macho Harris, William Moore, first
rounder Ziggy Hood and #4 pick Aaron Curry.

It was a great year and I was excited that we were able to sign Curry to the
largest guaranteed contract for a rookie non-QB in NFL history of $34 million
guaranteed and $60 million total. Just to put it in perspective, it’s only
1 million less than the contract Eli Manning just got- pretty sweet!

Well I gotta run but it was great talking to you. I’m excited for this
upcoming year and watching all the VT sports compete. We are improving in
all sports so make sure you go out and support all the Hokie athletes.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter
as I update all the time whats happening with the guys in the NFL.

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