Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 71: Alex Gross

Alex Gross stalks his prey (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics)

A nice piece of recognition for Austin Knowlin today as he has been named to the Sports Network FCS All-America First Team as a punt returner.

The full story and roster is on the TSN site here.

Gross Gains

The last linebacker I'll spotlight on our 100 players in 100 days countdown is current standout Alex Gross '11.

The Kettering, Ohio product made a huge splash in his freshman year of 2007, getting into the starting lineup, leading the team in tackles, and finishing the season as Ivy League Rookie of the Year.

The thing is... there were so many players making emergency starts during the great injury riddled campaign of 2007, that I didn't really notice just how good Gross really was until very late in the season.

By week 10 against Brown I did realize he was a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year, but I really almost missed the boat. Incidentally, Gross clinched the award with a 15-tackle performance that day.

Sophomore jinx? Not so much.

Gross led the team and the entire Ivy League in tackles last year with 101 and ended up on the All Ivy First Team at linebacker.

He had his best game in Columbia's best game of the year. In the 17-7 win over Cornell in week 9, Gross had 15 tackles, an interception, a sack, and a pass breakup.

But stats really don't tell the whole story. When Gross is on the field, it seems like opposing ball carriers never have a chance to get around that left end of the Columbia defense. He's also a very disruptive force in the short passing game week after week.

With the graduation of Drew Quinn, I suspect Gross will become the de facto leader of the linebacking corps and I think they're in good hands.


At Sat Jul 11, 08:21:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The New General Motors could use Alex Gross for his great acceleration! He's quicker than any other defender in the Ivy League. A la Des Werthman, I would like to see the Lions give Gross the ball on short yardage situations on offense. Why not use Gross in the same backfield with Millie and Nico Papas. Hard to imagine any defense in the Ivy League capable of stopping those three guys when they are running behind this year's big offensive line.

At Sun Jul 12, 11:15:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Des was much bigger and thus a better running threat.

At Mon Jul 13, 06:48:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Howard Gross said...

Jake, enjoy your blog and read it several times per week. Especially enjoy it when you say nice things about our son Alex. Found your prior interview with Ed Quin interesting. Even before Alex's freshman year, Ed was reaching out to incoming players from Ohio and their parents. I believe Drew took Alex under his wing and I believe that is one of the reasons he was able to respond when called upon early in his Freshman season. By the way Alex scored 14 touchdowns in 9 games his senior year in H.S.

At Tue Jul 14, 01:24:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note for Mr. Gross,

I meant no disrespect when I suggested that your son is not the same sort of running threat that Des Werthman was. Your son is the best linebacker in the Ivies. But Des was just an enormous force as a tailback in short yardage situations. That doesn't take anything away from Alex. but Des probably weighed 240 pounds and couldn't be tackled by most linebackers or DBs.


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