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Ex-Gulf, USF standout Alton Voss to get 1 more college try

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Wed. August 29, 2012 | Joey Knight | Email

Ex-Gulf, USF standout Alton Voss to get 1 more college try

The career resuscitation of former Gulf High football standout Alton Voss is nearing its fruition.

Voss, sober for 14 months since his career was derailed by substance abuse and a prescription-drug addiction, has been invited to join Division II Grand Valley State in Allendale, Mich., as a walk-on in 2013.

"For me to kind of have a second chance...I'm blessed to really have the doors open up the way they have," Voss said by phone Wednesday from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A onetime USF signee who left the program and later flamed out at two junior colleges, Voss has completed the in-patient program at CMI Abasto, a Buenos Aires treatment facility. Now in the outpatient segment, he lives in a nearby apartment and works as an intern in the office of the facility, which boasts a 100-percent success rate among those who complete the treatment.

Kim Advent, president of the U.S. company that represents CMI in Argentina, confirmed the Grand Valley offer. When asked if Voss appears on track to complete his outpatient treatment and return to the college game, she said, "Yeah, absolutely I believe so."

"Luckily for him he has a good relationship with the coach now in Michigan, and I think they're anticipating good results."

A 1,000-yard passer and rusher for Gulf as a junior in 2005, Voss signed with USF in February 2007. He was introduced to prescription drugs the second semester of his senior year, beginning a lengthy addiction that prompted him to leave USF's program in the summer of 2008.

He eventually segued into marijuana and crack cocaine, leading to his arrest in Michigan in the winter of 2011 for stealing a car. His attorney in Michigan helped set him up with CMI.

"I've grown a lot," said Voss, still at his USF playing weight (6-foot-3, 240 pounds).

"I'll never forget those (self-destructive experiences), nor the people who have been on my side and supported me through this, just had an open ear to hear my story. ... I can't let myself down first but I can't let those people down."

Currently, Voss is playing American football for a Buenos Aires team, starring at linebacker, quarterback and receiver for the 3-0 Crusaders. While the level of play roughly equates to mid-range high school football here, Advent says "physically, he's like a Superman."

He says he'll have at least three years' eligibility remaining, but has been told by GVSU coach Matt Mitchell he ultimately could petition for a fourth.

"I've been through it once and I didn't succeed, now I'm going through it again and know where I've made mistakes," said Voss, who turns 24 a week from Sunday. "I know who I am as a person. I have a strong foundation, not only with me but people around me. (College football) is one of my dreams. ... To be able to do that again, it's hard to put into words."

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