- The Washington Times - Friday, December 11, 2009

The process of picking a college can be stressful for any high school senior, but it couldn’t have been easier for Ross Pospisil. Four years ago, he made a clear and confident decision. Navy was the only school to which he applied.

The senior linebacker has been doing a lot of reflecting recently, and as the penultimate game of his Navy career - Saturday’s date with Army at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia - draws closer, Pospisil is as sure of that decision now as he was back then.

“My hopes and dreams could have never even come close to what life has been like here for me,” he said. “I’ve been extremely blessed, first and foremost with the people that are around me and the lifelong friends I’ve made - family members really. That’s something that I’ll always hold dear, and then on top of that just being able to play this game and having some success.”

It wasn’t just the opportunity to play Football Bowl Subdivision football that attracted Pospisil - who didn’t garner much interest from other top-level schools - to Annapolis. His grandfather graduated from the academy in 1957, and the idea of serving had always interested him.

The son of a pastor, Pospisil is ingrained with a strong faith that drives his daily life, especially his penchant for community service. Pospisil is active in a weekly Bible study group that is popular among players and, for the second year, is spearheading a fundraising effort to buy Christmas gifts for needy families in the Annapolis area.

“When it’s all said and done, life really boils down for me into one thing, and that’s developing loving relationships,” Pospisil said. “At the end of your life, what kind of friend were you? What kind of citizen of the community were you? Did you take the chances you were afforded to help people out? Those things that we have done forge relationships even more so and takes us out. We’ve been given this awesome platform to use.”

It is that kind of attitude that has raised Pospisil’s reputation within the academy. Not only is he looked up to on the football team - he was a unanimous selection for defensive team captain this year - but he is a leader within the Brigade as well, having recently been named company commander of the 28th Company for the second semester.

“Some guys are still learning how to manage their time,” coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “They can’t balance all three. People like Ross do a great job of balancing the academics, military and athletic aspects. I’m hoping others will follow his lead.”

It wasn’t always that way for Pospisil. As a sophomore in 2007, he was thrust into the starting lineup by a season-ending injury to Clint Sovie. But he wasn’t ready for it — he went a three-game stretch without recording a tackle — and, combined with his classes revving up, he found himself overwhelmed.

But Pospisil rededicated himself to the film room and closely watched the older linebackers on the team.

“I remember thinking, ‘Man, how do these guys make it all four years?’ ” Pospisil said. “It’s really just taking each day on its own, and the people around you will keep you going. I was just trying to learn from them — not only about the X’s and O’s and their demeanor of play, but just life here.”

Later that season, he exploded for 20 tackles against Northern Illinois, and the 6-foot, 227-pounder has been a force on the field for the Midshipmen ever since. Easily Navy’s leading tackler, he is poised to record 100 tackles for the second straight season and was picked Thursday to play in the East-West Shrine Game.

While his skills as a football player have peaked at a favorable time, Pospisil hopes that his other gifts have made a stronger impression.

“It had always been just a hope of mine that I can be there for anybody. The capacity I can be there to encourage people, I feel that’s something I’ve been called to do, especially with all that goes on with life around here,” he said. “That’s really the bottom line in a lot of ways. Down the road, wins and losses aren’t going to be remembered as much as opportunities we’ve had with each other. Those are the kinds of lasting things.”

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