Gross, Strong commit

The Rebels hit the jackpot Tuesday afternoon at South Panola when DT/DE Issac Gross and DE/OLB Temario Strong committed to Ole Miss. Read about it inside.

The pipeline from South Panola, the most prolific high school football program in Mississippi, to Ole Miss continued Tuesday afternoon when star performers DT/DE Issac Gross and DE/OLB Temario Strong committed to the Rebels.

"It's a family affair," said Strong, the nephew of former Rebel Eddie Strong and cousin of former Reb Chris Strong. "There really was no other place for me but Ole Miss."

Gross, who is best friends with Strong, had similar sentiments.

"I always had the feeling I would go to Ole Miss," said Issac. "I fell in love with Ole Miss a long time ago."

Strong is a 6-1, 217 pounder with 4.6 speed.

As a junior, he registered 76 tackles with 14 sacks, two fumble recoveries and an interception for a touchdown.

Temario Strong
Yancy Porter
South Panola Coach Lance Pogue said, of both, you can encapsulate each with one word - "winner."

"Temario is an edge rusher from the defensive end or outside linebacker positions," said Pogue. "He's started 30 games for us in the past two years and has two state titles and a national championship to his credit, the same at Issac. He's a winner and he only knows winning."

Pogue described Strong with all the key qualities coaches hope their players possess.

"Temario has excellent speed and he's explosive," said Lance. "He's so fast off the edge that he's on an offensive lineman before they get out of their stance.

"I believe in bloodlines. With Eddie as his uncle and Chris as his cousin, I look for Temario to be in the 6-2 or 6-3, 225-230 pound range. I tell you how much we believe in his athleticism - he played some tailback for us last year. He's that good of an athlete."

Pogue also ballyhooed Strong's character.

"Temario is a great worker, he has a passion for the game, he's in good shape academically and he's very mature," Pogue stated. "He has been a big part of our success here at South Panola and will continue to be his senior season."

Temario said his love of the game is his strongest asset.

"I love football. I love practice, I love the games," he said. "I think that passion for the game drives me to excel."

Strong said he had offers from Alabama, MSU, USM, Tennessee and LSU, but it was Ole Miss all the way.

"I'm finished with recruiting. It's Ole Miss for me," he closed.

Gross, a 6-1 1/2, 240-pounder, had similar statistics as Strong playing all four defensive line positions.

As a junior, he racked up 80 tackles and 13 1/2 quarterback sacks.

Issac Gross
Yancy Porter
"Honestly, I have not seen anyone block him in two years he has started," Pogue continued. "He is so fast off the ball and so disruptive. Issac is very light on his feet and like Temario, he's a winner.

"They have both been instrumental in our two state titles and national championship the last two years."

Again, the superlatives flowed from Pogue concerning Gross.

"He's a very powerful, very explosive athlete who is so fast off the ball. I really think Issac could be an edge rusher in college - he's that quick," Lance noted. "Issac is also a very good worker and a team leader. He's is an outstanding practice guy and was a leader on our team even his first year starting.

"Issac has the kind of personality and leadership qualities that the team rallies around and he's a great teammate."

Gross' versatility is also something Lance appreciates.

"I mean, the young man played all four defensive line positions for us," he said. "He can do it all. I don't really envision him as a 305-pound power guy, but what I do envision is a 280-pounder who is light on his feet, a quick first step, disruptive and very strong.

"I tell you, Ole Miss is getting two really, really good football players and good kids. Issac is also in good shape academically."

Gross likes the closeness of Ole Miss, both in location and in attitude.

"I fell in love with Ole Miss because it's like family and because I will be playing close to my family," he said. "I am kin to Nick Parker and Snoop Brassell and I talk to them all the time.

"I just couldn't see myself anywhere else but Ole Miss."

Like Strong, Gross feels his love of the game sets him apart.

"I don't think there will be anyone at Ole Miss who has more passion for football than I do," he stated. "Ole Miss has a good tradition, but we want to come over there and take it a step further. We want to make a tradition for ourselves and for Ole Miss that everyone will be proud of."

Gros had offers from Alabama, MSU, USM, UT, North Carolina and Texas, so far.

Gross and Strong are the second and third commitments for the Rebels for the 2012 class. MUS OL Ben Still committed last week.

The train from South Panola to Ole Miss gained two more valuable passengers.

All aboard!

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