WEIRTON, W.Va. — The recruiting process had its ups and downs for Madonna quarterback Ross Comis, but ultimately the senior quarterback found a perfect fit at the D-I level with UMass.
After Comis led his team to a state championship by posting 3,630 total offensive yards and 57 combined touchdowns, was voted runner-up to the Kennedy Award, was named the MetroNews Player of the Year and was voted captain of first team all-state, the D-I offers still weren’t coming.
Comis had invited walk-on opportunities at both WVU and Pitt, but he was waiting for a scholarship.
“It was difficult,” Comis said. “I thought I would be at a different position at that point. I thought I would have an offer from a MAC school or Conference USA school. But all along I knew I could play and I just wanted a chance.”
Ultimately, it was UMass that gave him that opportunity late in the recruiting process toward the end of January. The connection to UMass actually came through Pitt defensive assistant Spencer Whipple, the son of now UMass head coach Mark Whipple.
“Spencer was one of the guys that recruited me at Pitt,” Comis said. “One night I got a call and Coach Whipple got on the phone and said that Coach Spencer gave them my film. They said they loved my film and they were very excited.”
About a week later, Comis took his visit and officially committed to Coach Whipple and the Minutemen, ending a long recruiting process overall for the Madonna signal caller.
“The visit was unbelievable,” Comis said. “The campus and setting is all together – it’s a college town. I went to a basketball game, and they weren’t even playing a good team, but the crowd was awesome – that showed me how great the fan base could be.
“I didn’t know much about it (before), but after visiting and doing some research on the school and Coach Whipple, I saw how his coaching career has been phenomenal,” he said. “I think it’s a great fit for me.”
Offensively, Comis will go from running the spread in high school to a pro-style system with the Minutemen.
“Obviously if I’m in there, they will have a couple of zone-reads and stuff like that, but I’m not going to be running the ball 15 times a game, and I’m fine with that,” he said. “As a quarterback, it’s fun to run the ball, but I’ve always wanted to work on my skill throwing the football – I’ll sure as heck get that down there and I can wait to learn from the best.”
Comis now has some time to get himself ready for that next transition – he’ll eventually make his way onto campus in early July.
“In the offseason, I’m just really going to work on my footwork,” he said. “In high school, I was really never under center. I’ll work on that and speed drills as well. Most importantly, though, I need to work on stuff under center because I’m really not accustomed to that.
“I’m not going to be a guy that just wants to get on the field my junior and senior year,” he continued. “I want to play and I want to play early. These last couple months after basketball, I’m going to work really hard. I’m going to go down there with the mindset that I can play and I’m just really excited to get down there.”
UMass finished this past season with a 1-11 record out of the Mid-American Conference. Coach Whipple was officially hired earlier in January as the program’s new head coach – he previously led UMass for six seasons back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, finishing with a record of 49-26.