Ole Miss players report Friday.
I had a conversation with Issac Gross last week for a feature that will appear tomorrow in the the Daily Journal.
Gross, a junior defensive tackle from South Panola, has struggled to gain weigh and keep it on. He’s a big asset with his quickness, but banging against guys who out-weigh him from 50 to 100 pounds put his health at risk.
That hasn’t kept him from being productive, and Gross has had 19 tackles for loss and six sacks over two years. He had nine tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 2013.
In part of the interview he had some interesting things to say about a couple of his defensive line teammates, C.J. Johnson and Robert Nkemdiche.
“I remember when I was a senior in high school watching C.J. For a while, it looked like C.J. was the only guy trying. He was doing all he could to make plays here and make plays there. He came in as a linebacker then moved to defensive end. When I got here and was contributing to the team, C.J. ended up with six or seven sacks (6.5 for Johnson in 2012). That made me feel good. I knew C.J. was working, doing whatever he had to do to get the job done. He knows the game, knows it better than I do. I love to work with him. He teaches me to. There’s nothing like being taught by someone who’s actually out there with you on instead of the coaches. It feels so much better when someone’s actually on the field.” …
Gross says he’s weighing in at 240 right now. He’s listed at 250 pounds and as a co-starter with Woodrow Hamilton in the media guide.
As small as he is, Gross says he’s double-teamed “more than anybody” else on the field and doesn’t expect that to change with Nkemdiche playing alongside him at defensive tackle.
“Robert Nkemdiche … he’s truly blessed by God. He has everything that a player like me wishes or dreams about. His size, the way he moves with that sise, the skill level … any position he plays. With Rob beside me there’s so much penetration. He can do exactly what I’m doing. I penetrate, and Rob penetrates. I chase the ball, and Rob chases the ball. He’s going to ball hard.”