Joseph Doss Isn't A Slash in the Pan

Seen any good slasher films lately? If not, you might want to catch Joseph Doss of Memphis Melrose when the school opens its new web site next week, which will reportedly contain streaming video of the 5-10, 180-pound tailback.

Admittedly, streaming video isn't the best way to discern the subtleties of a runner like Doss who has 4.35 speed which he can turn against the grain in the wink of an eye, thus defining his style as a slasher. "He's not a big bruiser but he gives you everything you want," said Melrose head coach Kenny Ingram. "He's a slasher and he can do it on the inside." In addition to being an explosive runner with big-play capability, Doss is also a surprisingly good blocker, according to his coach. "He's a strong runner and I tell you the most amazing thing about him is that he is an excellent blocker," said Ingram. "He is an excellent blocker. He landed some bone-crushing blocks last year. Doss also compiled 1,300 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground in 2002, averaging an impressive 8.6 yards per carry and helping lead the Golden Wildcats to a 12-1 record and the state Class 4A semifinals. "He had a bunch of yards, but he didn't have a bunch of carries like the other backs in our area," Ingram explained. "He always made something happen with what he had. Until the playoffs, he was averaging maybe 10 carries a game and was consistently getting more than 100 yards." Doss' numbers don't tell the whole story about his talent. Playing in a deep backfield, he shared the rushing load with two other backs and was limited in opportunities. For instance: He only had six carries against Memphis Westwood but picked up 134 yards (22 yards per carry). "We had a three-back rotation to where he might get 10 carries," said Ingram, "and the other backs would get six or eight carries." In addition to Doss' knack for blowing past tacklers, he can also clear hurdles with the best of them. He runs a 14.1 in the 100-meter hurdles for the Melrose track team. His big-play ability puts Doss in a trio with quarterback Antonio Heffner and safety Ellix Wilson as Melrose's most recruited players. "He's been offered by Ole Miss and Mississippi State," said Ingram. "He's being recruited by everybody that's recruiting Ellix and Antonio. "Antonio is the only one to get a letter from Notre Dame. He's the only one of the three that has heard from them." Ingram expects Melrose to contend for a state title again this fall and says the program is rapidly approaching the pre-scandal days when the Golden Wildcats reigned over high school football in the state and produced such notable players as Andre Lott, Cedric Wilson, Kendal Moorehead, David Payne and Dewayne Robertson among many others. "We probably have eight or nine guys that are going to get Division I scholarships," he said. "This will be just my second season here and it's amazes me how many outstanding players we have in the program." No doubt, Tennessee would like to tap back into that talent pipeline in Memphis — now that the price is right. • Speaking of talent in the Memphis area, one prospect to keep an eye on is from Christian Brothers High School, which also produced current UT redshirt freshman defensive end David Ligon. Defensive end Corey Mills has prototypical dimensions and credentials at 6-5, 260 with 4.7 speed. Mills will be highly recruited and the Vols should be one of the schools he seriously considers.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories