Walk-on follows Levine’s footsteps

Shane Ros got into the end zone on an accurate pass from David Piland. | Esteban Portillo/The Daily Cougar

Shane Ros got into the end zone on an accurate pass from David Piland. | Esteban Portillo/The Daily Cougar

Head football coach Tony Levine and junior receiver Shane Ros began their college careers the same way.

Levine walked on at Minnesota, where he eventually earned a scholarship and became a three-time letter winner. Ros walked on at UH and began his career as a high school quarterback, but has made his way to receiver, Levine’s old position in college.

For Levine, watching Ros take the same path as him has been gratifying.

“What’s special for me is that I’m a former walk-on. He’s battled some injuries since high school and since he’s been here — he’s paying his own way,” Levine said. “He starts on seven different special teams. He’s played safety, he’s played receiver.”

Levine said Ros could earn a scholarship if he continues playing at a high level, just as he did 21 years ago.

“There’s a guy who won’t be paying for school much longer in Shane Ros,” Levine said in Saturday’s postgame press conference.

Levine said Ros has been the Cougars’ best non-specialist special teams player, has transitioned to contributing as a receiver in the past two games.

Piland has respected Ros’ ability since the two were opponents in high school while Piland was a player for the Carroll Dragons of South Lake Texas and Ros for Cinco Ranch.

“(Ros) didn’t play until the fourth quarter because he had torn his ACL and the coach didn’t want to play him, but then in the fourth quarter he started to bring them back,” Piland said.

Ros received an opportunity after injuries hit the receiving corp. Freshmen receivers Andrew Rodriguez and Larry McDuffey, who both contributed to the offense early in the season, have missed time because of their ailments.

Ros said he will be whatever the team needs him to be.

“Whatever I’ve got to do to help the team win. Whether it’s special teams or receiver,” Ros said. “It’s fun for me to play offense but whatever role that may be, I’m willing to do it.”

Against UAB, Ros was UH’s leading receiver. He caught six balls for 114 yards. It was Ros’ second consecutive week as a main factor in the passing game. Against North Texas, Ros had 61 yards on four receptions.

Ros said his perspective as a former quarterback has helped him become a better receiver.

“It’s helped me a lot in terms of understanding what defenses are trying to do and what holes might be found,” Ros said. “I think (Piland) appreciates me going from quarterback to receiver because I’m not coming to him saying that I’m open on every play.”

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