A recurring series where we will profile every player and coach on Maryland’s roster, counting down to kick-off against Miami. Thanks to OBNUG for the idea.
Today we profile the top backup defensive end on the Terps.
Isaiah Ross, Junior, Defensive End
Ratings: Three stars, #67 inside linebacker by Rivals; two stars, #76 middle linebacker by Scout; three stars, #54 inside linebacker by ESPN
40-yard dash time: 4.87
High School Stats (senior season): 80 tackles, 12.5 sacks, two interceptions
College Stats (through two years): 33 tackles (13 solo), 5 for a loss, 2.5 sacks, one fumble recovery
High School: Eleanor Roosevelt High School (Greenbelt, Md.)
How’d He Get To College Park?
Isaiah Ross was one of the top local players around in 2008, starring at local Eleanor Roosevelt High School (located in PG County, same as College Park). Ross was named the Prince George’s County Defensive Player of the Year that year, and was also named first team All-Met by the Washington Post (he was honorable mention All-Met after his junior year). Despite all these accolades, Ross was not recruited heavily out of high school, receiving offers only from Maryland, Buffalo, and Illinois. James Franklin was the main guy in Ross’s recruitment for Maryland, and ended up steering the defensive lineman to College Park.
Coming out of high school, most recruiting services had Ross as an inside linebacker, because played a bit of it at Roosevelt and that’s what his frame suits best. However, with a time in the upper 4.8’s in the 40 yard dash, it’s easy to understand why the Maryland coaches moved him to a down lineman.
That decision has worked out well so far. After an impressive true freshman campaign was cut short by a knee injury, Ross bounced back with a great season off the bench last year – playing in all thirteen games, he recorded 27 tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks. That sack total was higher than either of Maryland’s starting defensive ends.
More after the jump.
Isaiah “Teflon Don” Ross
This. Watch all of it.
The knee injury.
Arbitrary Top Five List:
Football players from Roosevelt:
1. Derrick Burgess
2. Derrick Harvey
3. Jared Gaither
4. Derrick Williams
5. Charles Hill
Ross moves back over to defensive end, taking the starting job from Clarence Murphy and ending up a honorable mention All-ACC selection.
Ross re-injures the knee, seeing his playing time suffer.
Ross entered the spring as the presumptive starter at defensive end, but after an impressive spring from redshirt freshman Clarence Murphy, finds himself as a backup at ROCK instead. He is now behind David Mackall on the depth chart, but will without a doubt be the first defensive end off the bench for the Terps.
The ROCK position is kind of a defensive end/linebacker hybrid position, although we’re not exactly sure how it’s going to be used just yet. What we do know is Mackall is a converted linebacker and Ross was expected to play inside linebacker coming out of high school, so you’ve got guys with those kind of skill sets playing at that position.
The problem for Ross is that Mackall is one of the most talented defenders on the team that most people haven’t really heard of. We’ll get to him soon, but he spent most of the season last year blowing it up on special teams, and was incredible during spring practice last season. Ross would have a much better chance getting starting time at defensive end, and I’m sure if he impresses enough they’ll move him back there.
Unfortunately, he already had the starting spot, and he lost it. We’re not really sure if that was due to his play or Murphy’s, but as it stands right now he’s the third man in a competition for two starting spots. Ross has a lot of talent, and he proved last year that he can have success as an ACC defensive lineman (he was more productive than Justin Anderson and Drew Gloster), so don’t be surprised if he ends up taking back that starting defensive end spot very early in the year.
Our next player is a former freshman All-American who should really be starting.