Family and football helped propel Hampton’s Ross Andersson to Johns Hopkins
By: Devon Moore
Sunday, February 18, 2018 | 11:45 PM
Ross Andersson might not be a professional-caliber football player.
But he's going to be a great professional-caliber something one day, and if he's good enough at football to play for one of the finest educational institutions in the country, that's probably good enough, too.
After considering Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Case Western Reserve and Carnegie Mellon, Andersson, a three-year starter at quarterback and defensive back for Hampton, will go to Baltimore to play for Johns Hopkins.
“I felt something there that I didn't feel at the other places,” said Andersson, who intends to study chemical and biomolecular engineering. “A fit with the coaches, players, academically and the research I wanted. I wanted to be in the right place socially and academically.”
If anyone is looking for success in the medical sciences field, Johns Hopkins is a good place to start. After valuing such strong academics in addition to eyeing team success, coach Jim Margraff's program is also a good place to start.
The Blue Jays are one of four teams in Division III that have been ranked every week since the start of the 2012 season. Being on a winning program would take Andersson back to his early years, when, as a sophomore, he led the Talbots to the second round of the WPIAL playoffs. Wins were harder to come by his last two seasons after the PIAA realignment, as Hampton won only two games combined. But Andersson never hung his head.
“He has an ‘it' factor that I can't coach,” Hampton coach Jacque DeMatteo said. “I don't know what it is. The thing he does is it elevates people around him. Their character, effort and enthusiasm. When you're around the kid, you get a certain calmness as a coach.”
Perhaps Andersson's greatest accomplishment at Hampton was helping to spearhead an effort to save a flagging winless program in 2016. He and the rest of his team recruited tirelessly last offseason to bring the from from 37 to a respectable 56.
“I'm a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and the Lord has a plan,” said Andersson, who was recruited as a defensive back or wide receiver. “I think I'll be able to use those experiences to grow in the future. I'm thankful with what I had and gave it my all every Friday night.”
“Ross is a special person,” DeMatteo said. “And regardless of whether we're 0-10 and 10-0, he's going to be the same person.”
Andersson's ability to stand out on the field in the classroom is part of a plan that starts with family. The fourth of seven children of Erik and Pam Andersson, a packed house always presented opportunities to compete in both areas, and Andersson comes from a lineage of math and science specialists.
Erik is a software engineer, and Pam was a pharmacist, as Andersson recalls, “before she decided to be the best stay-at-home mom that I know. She definitely had her share of work.”
Oldest brother Jacob studied engineering at Virginia Tech. Older sister Kirsten is in medical school, and older brother Lucas is a chemical engineer.
“I think there was always competition, but it wasn't pushed by my parents,” Andersson said. “It was natural. I didn't really get into football until I saw Lucas was playing and said, ‘I want to do what he's doing.' ”
“I'm pushed by my older siblings, and I strive to push my younger siblings to always achieve better. That's part of the reason of the success we have is we always have that.”
That probably bodes well for sophomore twin brothers Josh and Ian, the latter of which is a candidate to replace his older brother as the Talbots quarterback next year. All three will compete for Hampton lacrosse in the spring.
“He's a special kind of athlete,” said Andersson of Ian. “He has a taller, lankier frame and can put more spin on the ball than I can. Every time I watch my younger brothers play, I'm a proud older brother.”
Devon Moore is a freelance writer.