Welp, the Rebs have suffered their first major casulty of the 2015 season. The team announced on Tuesday that big play defensive tackle Issac Gross will undergo season-ending neck surgery, according to Brian Rippee of the Daily Mississippian.
If there was any position at which Ole Miss could afford to lose a play-maker like Gross, it's on the loaded defensive line, but this is still a significant blow. He's technically not a starter -- he plays behind Woodrow Hamilton at the nose tackle spot -- but plays heavy snaps on a line that likes to rotate players frequently.
The Rebs won't miss Gross as much against power run teams like Bama, Arkansas or LSU -- at under 240 pounds, he's not built to hold up against the downhill ground attack. But he's a nightmare against spread teams like A&M and Auburn because his absurdly quick first step allows him to blow into the backfield and disrupt plays before they get started. Gross notched 27 tackles for loss, seven sacks and eight QB hurries in his first three years in Oxford.
The silver lining here is that Gross will take a medical redshirt and come back for 2016, helping to offset the loss of starting DTs Robert Nkemdiche and Woodrow Hamilton.