‘Uber athletic’ | Jackson Ross ready to add American Football to impressive resume

Former tennis, Australian rules football star eager to take the field for the Vols
Published: Aug. 20, 2023 at 7:55 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The arm strength of Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton is no secret.

What may come as a surprise is who Milton has some competition from. It isn’t a quarterback, it’s someone who has never played the position, punter Jackson Ross.

“He claims he has the third strongest arm on this team behind Joe and Nico (Iamaleava) but for me, the guy who signs my paychecks, he’s got the fourth behind (Josh) Heupel,” said Tennessee Special Teams Coordinator Mike Ekeler.

Ross still thinks he’s got one former star signal-caller beat when it comes to arm strength.

“I think I’m better than Coach Heupel,” Ross said. “I’m still in my prime.”

“What people don’t realize about Jackson Ross is when he was 15, he was the number 2 tennis player in the entire country of Australia,” said Ekeler. “I kid you not, I think he could be a starting wide receiver for us, he’s that athletic. He might look like an accountant but the guy is uber athletic.”

Before arriving on Rocky Top, Ross played professional Australian Rules football for Hawthorn Football Club. Ross redshirted a season ago, seeing no playing time in his first year in Knoxville. Now, with a full-year of growth under his belt, Ross, who has experienced professional crowds in his home country, is ready to experience playing in front of one of America’s biggest crowds.

“Australia gets some big crowds, our Grand Final which is like your Super Bowl gets about 100,000,” said Ross. “I’ve played in some smaller, like 20,000. This will be crazy, playing in Neyland for the first time.”

The Vols return to practice on Monday. Heupel will speak to the media at 11:00 AM.