This is the first in a series of mini-profiles The Oregonian is publishing on high school football players expected to sign with the Beavers. National signing day is Feb. 5. Name: Harris Ross Hometown: Pittsburg, Calif. Position: Running back Twitter: @Dub2RossIV Height: 5-foot-11 Weight: 194 High school: Pittsburg High School 2013 stats: 1,831 rushing yards for 20 touchdowns in eight games Beaver fans should be excited because: Harris Ross learned from the best. His high school running backs coach was Ken Simonton, the Beavers' all-time rushing leader. Over two varsity seasons, Simonton helped mold Ross into one of California's most productive prep running backs. The Pirates star, who missed part of his senior season with a leg injury, rushed for a North Coast Section-record 464 yards in a September win over Monte Vista High School (Danville, Calif.). "He helped me a lot because he succeeded a lot in his football career," Ross said of Simonton. "He was a stud. So me following in his footsteps and being mentored by him is a big part of my life." Soon after Ross started playing organized football in ninth grade, Pittsburg's freshman coach approached varsity coach Victor Galli with a bold prediction: "There's a sleeper in this whole group and it's Harris Ross. Harris Ross could be the best one out of this whole class once he knows what he's doing." Ross made "dramatic jumps" each year at Pittsburg, Galli said. He honed footwork, added muscle and studied film. When injuries sidelined two seniors late in Ross' junior season, the third-stringer dominated. He erupted for 269 rushing yards against Monte Vista in the North Coast Section playoffs. This past summer, Ross attended an OSU football camp. He grew enamored with the Beavers' family atmosphere, the way they instantly made him feel comfortable. Ross returned home with designs on continuing Simonton's Pittsburg-to-Corvallis legacy. "I just prayed to God," he said.