Almost four years ago, Cross would have told you that there was no way he'd be playing on this level. Maybe he wouldn't be playing anywhere.
Division III teams, which only need athletes to meet the school's individual entrance requirements and not the NCAA's standards, kept sending Cross mail. Methodist, which had seen some of his high school footage, was the most aggressive.
kind of player Cross has been for the Monarchs, one need only look at the school's football record book. His career totals for receptions (180) and receiving yards (2,648) are school records by wide margins. Prior to his arrival, the school record in touchdown catches for a career was 14. Through three seasons, Cross had tallied 17. He's added 15 more this season.
touchdown receptions, he holds the first and second spots in all three categories. Goss said. "It has become a way of life. We expect it out of him."
Cross began to take a second look at Methodist. He talked with the Monarchs' staff. There was a visit. And by July, he was on his way to Fayetteville to start the college career he'd given up on months earlier.
He said he already knows that keeping it together will be tough. Just how tough could be up to her.
Wesleyan in the season finale, the receiver will be introduced as one of the Monarchs' seniors. The plan is for him to do so with his 2 year old daughter Ja'Nylah in his arms.
Last month, Ja'Nylah spent a week staying with her father in his off campus apartment. She got to tag along with him to a few practices and even a class. Around Methodist, she earned the nickname "Little Vaughn" because of her strong resemblance to her father. Cross said she also won fans with her new habit of trying to impress strangers by spontaneously counting to 11 or running through her ABCs.
So when Daniels told Cross that she was pregnant in June, the initial shock and apprehension quickly gave way to excitement.
"I knew I had to do this because there was someone back home watching," Cross said. "That made me work a lot harder because at the end of the day, she can be like 'My dad did that for me. That's why he wasn't here.'"
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"It was heartbreaking, man, really heartbreaking," Cross said. "Everybody was going D I from my school. I was the next D I guy and I didn't get the test score."
Simply put, the 6 foot, 185 pound Cross is the kind of offensive weapon not usually seen in Division III football.
catching records while helping raise his daughter
But in February, when he failed to get the test scores needed to pass the NCAA's eligibility requirements, the recruiting letters stopped.
But what he knows, and what he hopes she'll understand, is that this is how it has to be. Ja'Nylah's arrival marked a pivotal point in his life. Ever since, Cross' path has taken him several states away from home, into the Methodist football record books and toward a better understanding of being a father.
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As a senior at Armwood High School in Tampa, Fla., Cross was getting recruited by a handful of Division I schools. Armwood is a football powerhouse and several of his teammates were inking with well known programs. Cross was sure he would be doing the same.
When it comes to single season marks in catches, receiving yards and Nike Air Total Max Uptempo Mens Shoes Black Green
While Cross savored his time with his daughter, he said the more important purpose of the visit was to give her some quality time with him.
"It was scary at first, but with all the family help, it was good," Daniels said.
"First thing first, I figured that I had to go to college, I can't just sit around in Florida and not do anything because that wouldn't benefit my child," Cross said. "That was a life changing experience. I can't really describe it, it was just life changing. I've just got to get up and do something. I can't just be around in Florida because I won't accomplish anything."
But as the final months of his senior year slipped by, Cross decided college wasn't going to happen. By the time he got his diploma, his plan was to stick around Tampa and see what came his way.
"Everybody loved her, the atmosphere changed when she was here, everybody was happy to see her," Cross said. ". The professors embraced her, the coaches embraced her, the whole community embraced her."
Dominique Daniels was a year older than Cross, but by the summer of 2010, the couple had been together for years. Cross described them as high school sweethearts.
His daughter lives with her mother in Florida. He sees Ja'Nylah on holidays and for a few weeks in the summer. He estimates that most years, his time with her might total about three months.
First, there's the joyful warmth that all fathers feel when their young child shows them affection. But Nike Vapormax Grey On Grey there's also the painful acknowledgement that he's not been around much.
At the time, Cross was spending his days working out. He had no job and the recruiting letters he was still getting from colleges were barely acknowledged. But when Daniels told him the news, he said there was an instantaneous change.
ear," Cross said. "Her whole thing was that I'm going to school regardless. In my mind, I was like I'm not going. If I wasn't going D I, I wasn't going. I never told her that, but she kind of felt that I wasn't going to go to college."
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