Gross a pleasant surprise at Under Armour

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Issac Gross came to central Florida with a mission. Playing on a star-studded defensive line, he simply wanted to be noticed.
After three days of practice leading up to Thursday's Under Armour All-America Game in St. Petersburg, it's safe to say the Batesville (Miss.) South Panola defensive tackle has accomplished that.
A three-star prospect and longtime Mississippi commit, Gross has more than held his own and on Tuesday was among the most successful defensive lineman during one-on-ones.
"I feel like I've done real good this week," Gross said. "I think I've stepped up and risen to the occasion playing better guys - bigger, stronger, faster guys."
Other players, including four-star offensive guard Vadal Alexander of Buford, Ga., have been complimentary of Gross. His success against more well-known and higher-rated players has been somewhat surprising because, at 6-feet-2, 265 pounds, he is among the smallest defensive linemen on hand.
How has Gross done it?
"Well, everybody says it's my first two steps," Gross said. "But the coaches, they keep saying, 'Motor, motor, motor.' I don't quit. I'm going to play hard every snap."
Admittedly, Gross arrived here with a chip on his shoulder.
"I know I'm being overshadowed by a lot more guys out here," Gross said. "There's a lot of talent out here. But it doesn't matter who it is, I'm going to rise to the occasion."
Gross, who also played well at last month's Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic, spoke about his recruitment Tuesday. According to Gross, he likes the new Rebels staff. Even so, though he said he is solid to Ole Miss, he added that he would listen to other schools.
"I'm strongly committed to Ole Miss, but there might be someone out there that I haven't gotten [an offer from yet]," Gross said. "The new coach at Southern Miss [Ellis Johnson] wants me to come down there and visit him, and I'm going to go visit [Mississippi State]."
Keith Niebuhr can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter @KeithRIVALS.