Playing for his state

Some Mississippi high school prospects prefer to play out of state. Not Issac Gross.

The Ole Miss freshman defensive tackle, a former South Panola star, wears his colors with pride and feels like he’s playing for his state when he’s on the field.

Ole Miss freshman DT Issac Gross. (Joshua McCoy photo)

“I love being at home. I’m a Mississippi guy. When I go out there on the field I feel like I’m playing for all of Mississippi. When we play against other teams it means a lot to me to face those other teams with me wearing red, white and blue and having Mississippi on me. I have a lot of passion for my state, a lot of passion for this team, and I just go out there and play.”

Gross leads Ole Miss interior linemen with 18 tackles. He’s also recorded four tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a pressure.

Gross, under-sized for his position, is listed at 6-1, 254 pounds. He’s developed a close friendship with redshirt freshman linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche.

“Before Issac got up here when he was coming to visit every other week, me and him would sit down and talk, and we were like, ‘We’re the future of this progam. Let’s do something special. Let’s do anything by any means to change this program.’ He’s completely dedicated and committed to his team. He’s working extremely hard, and I’m not surprised about his success. Yeah, he’s a little small, but I don’t really look at it like that. I don’t look at size. If you’ve got that ‘it’ you can play,” Nkemdiche said.

More on Gross in Thursday’s Daily Journal.


Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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  • Let’s hope that he can help Nkemdechie talk his brother into coming to play with them!

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