Former Gulf High star Alton Voss gets pro football shot

Alton Voss, top (with beard) poses with Joe Slenk, the Michigan police officer who arrested him; his wife Chanda (Slenk), far right.; and their children, from left, Camryn Slenk, Lauryn Slenk and Taryn Slenk.[Photo courtesy of Joe Slenk]
Alton Voss, top (with beard) poses with Joe Slenk, the Michigan police officer who arrested him; his wife Chanda (Slenk), far right.; and their children, from left, Camryn Slenk, Lauryn Slenk and Taryn Slenk.[Photo courtesy of Joe Slenk]
Published February 28

The improbable football career of former USF signee Alton Voss has taken another surreal, eastward turn.

Toward Germany.

Voss, 29, who triumphed over drug addiction to earn a second chance at Division II Grand Valley (Mich.) State, is joining the Potsdam Royals of the German Football League. The Royals begin play in April.

Related: Ex-Gulf High standout Alton Voss climbs back from addiction

"I did the whole list of pros and cons, and there's not really any cons," said Voss, who currently resides north of Atlanta.

"I'm losing out on 7-1/2 months of the United States, and I could be working and stuff like that. But really, big scheme of things, 7-1/2 months of my life, that's so minute. And who knows what can come of it?"

Voss, who wrapped up his GVSU career in '16, said he was discovered by Potsdam recruitment coordinator David Saul, who spotted him while studying film. A three-way star at Gulf High who totaled more than 2,000 yards and blocked eight kicks as a senior, Voss said he'll play defensive end for the Royals, earning $975 a month.

"I told (Saul) last week, 'Listen, when we're down in the red zone, I played quarterback (in high school),'" Voss said. "'Wanna get some guaranteed points on the board? I'll play quarterback.'"

Voss signed with USF in 2007 but exited the following year when his addiction problems intensified. After being arrested for stealing a car in Michigan, he spent two years at a treatment center in Argentina and got a new lease on his football life at GVSU in 2013.

In his final season with the Lakers in '16, he totaled 67 tackles, 4-1/2 sacks and two forced fumbles. He took part in the school's pro day and was believed to be a borderline NFL Draft candidate but never got a phone call from a club.

Related: Alton Voss' story seemed like an NFL dream come true, until it didn't

He now works in the medical-sales field and shares his story of addiction and recovery with various groups. Last fall, he coached a sixth-grade football team for a Kennesaw, Ga., middle school that serves as a feeder program for Harrison High. Harrison produced University of Georgia signee Justin Fields, the nation's No. 1-ranked dual-threat quarterback.

"I had come to terms that football's done," Voss said.

"I coached this past fall, and I enjoyed doing that. I was like, 'I can coach,' so I even kind of stopped working out, just let my body rest. But then I got this message, and I'm just like, of all the things I've gone through and the experiences and all that type of stuff, this is my dream. Why not add this to my story?"

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