RENO, Nev. - University at Buffalo senior cornerback Boise Ross will wear No. 41 Saturday night and for the rest of the season in honor of late teammate Solomon Jackson.
Ross is the former roommate of Jackson, the defensive end who died in February after collapsing during an offseason team conditioning workout.
Ross has worn No. 1 throughout his UB career. UB’s game against the University of Nevada kicks off at 9 p.m. Saturday.
“Really, this started through conversations with Steve and Jakkii,” said UB coach Lance Leipold, referring to Jackson’s parents. “They wanted No. 41 on the field. The family chose Boise, who was his roommate, to be the appropriate person to do it first.”
UB is working on a plan, approved by the Jackson family, that will have a designated player wear Jackson's No. 41 every season.
“It’s an honor for me and to him and his family,” Ross said. “I’m happy to be able to do it. I want to represent what the number stands for, because he was a great man. I was taken aback when I was asked. Being it was my roommate and was really close with him, when I do get the chance to put the uniform on I will feel like he’s with me, and he always is with me.”
“It affected all of us deeply, but Boise was one of the ones who took it the hardest,” Leipold said. “Solomon was helping Boise grow as a person. Since his death, Boise has taken great strides on and off the field.”
The Nevada game will be the season debut for Ross, who was held out of the opener against Albany for violating team rules. Ross arguably is the top defender on the UB team. He ranked fifth in the nation in passes defensed last season.