North Paulding quarterback Ross Malmgren will participate in the Georgia Elite Classic senior game at McEachern on Dec. 28. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound prospect started every game for the Wolfpack over the last three seasons and led the program to its seventh-straight playoff appearance this past fall out of the talented Region 3-AAAAAAA.
Malmgren’s senior season concluded with more than 2,700-plus passing yards, 29 touchdowns and just three interceptions, earning him the recognition of Paulding County TD Club Player of the Year. He finished his varsity career with 7,356 passing yards and 70 touchdown passes—both of which are school and county records.
Presbyterian College, Tusculum, Valdosta State and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise are the latest programs to offer Malmgren, who is expecting to make his official announcement in January or February.
“The next couple months will probably be the most important ones for me,” said Malmgren. “I didn’t focus on the recruiting side as much during the season, so it’s picked up a lot since the season ended.”
Recruitment may have taken a backseat during his season, but years of results have set up Malmgren nicely for the culmination of his recruiting journey. In 2014, Malmgren took center stage in the first-ever Georgia Elite 8th Grade game. In the first half, he connected with Ryan Goede for a 19-yard touchdown, and found Dominick Blaylock for a 37-yard touchdown on a 4th down and 17 call. His team ended up scoring a 26-0 victory, and Malmgren teamed up with the two UGA signees (Goede, Blaylock) on a 7-on-7 all-star team the following year.
“The Elite Junior Classic game in eighth grade for sure helped me,” said Malmgren. “There were a lot of studs in that game that prepared me for joining varsity my freshman year. My freshman year, I joined a 7-on-7 team with a lot of those guys that was called Team Adidas. That really helped me too, especially with the speed of the game, and that was probably the most loaded team I’ve ever been on with Owen Pappoe and Dom [Blaylock], Goede and a bunch of guys.”
Malmgren played in the Rising Seniors All-Star Game last December and was on the winning side again (31-14). His performance included a clutch 15-yard touchdown pass with just six seconds left in the first half to Tennessee signee and Lovejoy receiver Jerrod Means.
Competing in all-star game settings has taught Malmgren the importance of taking a confidence approach to compensate for the shortage of practice time.
“All-star games can be much tougher for offense,” explained Malmgren. “For defenses, you just need to be an athlete and make plays. Offense has to have timing to function and that takes practice. You don’t have a lot of time to prepare for any all-star game, so you just have to try to get that timing worked out as fast as possible and try to be as confident as you can be going into the game.”