Joshua Ross, Wolverine

Joshua Ross, Wolverine

March 22, 2016
Josh Ross and Dwayne Chapman 789x

Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary’s linebackers Joshua Ross (#5) and Dwayne Chapman (#55) – image via Scout

Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary’s linebacker Joshua Ross committed to Michigan this morning. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oklahoma, among others.

He’s 6’1″, 219 lbs. Other stats and measurements are hard to come by.

ESPN: 4-star, 81 grade, #11 OLB, #162 overall
Rivals: 4-star, #9 OLB, #189 overall
Scout: 4-star, #10 ILB, #228 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 92 grade, #6 ILB, #173 overall

Hit the jump for more on Ross’s commitment.

Here’s what I had to say about Ross back in February:

Strengths: I didn’t think so before his junior year, but Joshua seems almost like an exact clone of his older brother, James, who just finished his linebacker career at Michigan. Both players play(ed) exactly how you would want a high school linebacker to play. Joshua is very disciplined and makes reads quickly. He plays downhill in the run game, and he does a nice job of shocking releasing offensive linemen or sidestepping them with deft handwork. He times blitzes well based upon the quarterback’s cadence, and he slices through running lanes when he sees them. When he arrives at the ball carrier, he’s a solid tackler who drives his feet very well through contact. He has decent speed. I think Joshua has a step up on his brother in pass drop awareness, and he does a good job sinking underneath routes.

Weaknesses: James was listed at about the same size coming out of high school, and that’s not very big for a Big Ten inside linebacker. The concern on my end is that linebackers this size can get swallowed up by linemen at times, and they don’t have enough mass to be a factor if they’re fighting off a blocker while trying to bring down a ball carrier. Offenses could target him in man coverage because of his lack of size and athleticism, but inside linebackers aren’t known for their man coverage prowess.

Michigan comparison: James Ross III

I had Ross as the #4 uncommitted in-state prospect, and that was before Ann Arbor (MI) Pioneer linebacker Antjuan Simmons committed to Ohio State. As almost an exact clone of his brother’s playing style, I hesitate to project greatness for him when James was just a so-so Big Ten linebacker. However, he may be a bit larger, especially in light of James’s pro day height measurement of a shade over 5’10” (LINK). Joshua Ross will enter the program in 2017 when Michigan should have at least one entrenched starter at inside linebacker, and I would guess that he either redshirts or spends a year on special teams duty exclusively before getting a chance to contribute, probably at WILL. I do not see him as the type of immediate-impact guy to step in immediately and play, but he should be a solid player who plays quite a bit as an upperclassman.

Ross is the first commit from St. Mary’s since his brother picked the Wolverines in the class of 2012. Michigan has also offered WR K.J. Hamler in the 2017 class, and other potential prospects to watch are CB Richard Bowens III, DT Ralph Holley Jr., and LB Dwayne Chapman. Ross is the first linebacker in a class that should end up with at least a few at the position, and he’s the third in-state prospect, joining TE Carter Dunaway and and OT Ja’Raymond Hall.

TTB Rating: Ratings for 2017 players will be released as soon as I re-rank the 2016 class


  1. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Mar 22, 2016 at 7:00 PM

    We could use another James Ross for sure.

    If he’s more or less physically ready to play as a freshman (as James was) then I think he will play as a freshman.

    James was on the small side for a LB, but Brown seems content to use smaller LBs. Anyway James Ross was used as WDE/RLB after Ojemudia got hurt, so I don’t see size as holding him back too much.

    Good pickup. Always nice to get a top in-state kid locked down. Hopefully there are several more on the way from the strong in-state class.

  2. Comments: 1357
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Mar 22, 2016 at 7:55 PM

    He’s definitely bigger as a Jr than James was as a SR.

    Here is James post season Sr year tape.
    it is funny how much they play the same way. It looks like there is just a lot more of Joshua than there was of James.

  3. Comments: 3
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Mar 23, 2016 at 9:54 AM

    Not a big surprise, but good win to pull him in early in the cycle.

  4. Comments: 23
    Joined: 3/14/2016
    Mar 25, 2016 at 6:10 AM

    Lanknows hit on something that could prove to be of greater importance under the new DC. We all know of his aggressive nature, in my opinion, the best way to approach that side of the ball. Even though I was aggressive, and even at a far, far lower level, I did, like I think most would have, became aware that some seasons you will have a defense that allows you to use every trick in your arsenal, but at the high school level, change is inevitable and certain years will allow you and force you to do things differently on both sides of the ball. However, there are certain players that just possess an awareness, a knack for the game that despite lacking in certain areas, the team is simply better by there being on the field.
    Of course, Brown is going to be subjected to both better and a larger pool of players. I’m guessing, and I may be wrong, so those of you more familiar with his tendencies don’t hesitate. It appears, based on every post since his commitment, UM will be better for having him. Going a bit further, Lanknows suggests that Brown will have no problem with his size and Thunder infers that blitzing is one of the better aspects of his game. And, of course, being from MI makes it even nicer. There was a name mentioned above that brought back some fond memories on my part. I believe David Bowens was from the same school, and he was gifted. I’m guessing this young man with the same last name is related somehow?

  5. Comments: 263
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Painter Smurf
    Mar 26, 2016 at 2:21 PM

    Nice pick up. I hope Josh a couple inches taller than James. Although I don’t think height is what kept James from breaking out at UM. He was lightening fast in HS when it came to reading and reacting off the snap, but his play recognition at the next level never rose above average. Just did not seem like the game slowed down for him. If Josh is able to develop in that way at UM, he’ll be a player.

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