Alton Voss will be a 25-year-old freshman at Grand Valley State University this fall with a background and stories to share that could leave his fellow incoming classmates wide-eyed.
A former star quarterback and safety at New Port Richey Gulf High School in Florida, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Voss was ranked as one of the top prep quarterbacks in the country by all of the national recruiting services.
Local sports writers went as far as to call him one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks the Tampa/St. Petersburg region has ever produced.
But off the field, Voss was battling personal demons — much more destructive to his life than any blitzing linebacker could cause. Because of a unwavering addiction to prescription pills such as Oxycontin and Roxycodone — and later crack and cocaine — Voss threw away a promising college career at the University of South Florida before he ever took one snap for the Bulls.
With his addictions causing his life to unravel and at a loss for answers, Voss found his saving grace in an unlikely destination. Through love and support from connections he made in West Michigan and an amazing recovery at a unique rehabilitation center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Voss believes he's been given a delicate second chance at life.
It's an opportunity that could culminate with him running onto the turf at Lubbers Stadium in Allendale this fall, as a preferred walk-on with the Lakers' football team.
"It literally gives me goose bumps just thinking about it," Voss said recently. "I mean, honestly, how many guys even get a second chance?"
Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.