Joel Ross, the 6-foot, 310-pound two-star defensive tackle from Vanderbilt Catholic High School in Houma, La., says he favors Ole Miss and Oklahoma State solidly over Arkansas and Oklahoma. All four have offered (six total), but he says the Rebels are recruiting him the hardest.
"I'm close to setting up a trip with them," he said. "We've been talking about that a lot recently, but we start to playoffs next week so I'm not sure about the date yet.
"I like Ole Miss because of the coaches," Ross said. "They are really up-beat and it seems like there's never a dull moment there. They have a pretty good defensive line too and I think I'd be able to fit in well there. They just need some big players that can come in and make some big plays. They are in a rebuilding stage and if you look at how they play some of the tops teams they are always pretty close. They seem to be one or two big plays away from winning some big games."
Ross' only scheduled official visit is to Oklahoma State for Dec. 8 and the Cowboys are the team that has moved up the most, pulling closer to the Rebels. "They are playing really good right now," he said. "They beat Nebraska and had a bunch of good wins and I think they'll finish strong. I like that they are still getting better and should have a big season next year."
Trailing the Rebels and Cowboys are Arkansas and Oklahoma, both of whom are still heavily recruiting Ross. "Oklahoma is always good," he said. "I love the defense they have. They always do well and are a top team every year. They always go to a bowl game and should make a pretty good bowl again this year.
"I know Arkansas has been struggling a little this season, but they are human," he said. "You can't knock them for that. That's really a non-issue for me. I just like the defense they run and that they produce good linemen. Plus, they've got Darren McFadden and he's a Heisman candidate, so that shows you they must produce pretty good players."
Ross says he'll be looking at playing time and some place he's comfortable. "I want to go where I'll be able to help out," he said. "I need to like where I'm playing and feel comfortable there. I've never really lived in a big city, so I'd probably prefer to stay in a college town-type atmosphere. I'm just used to the South and the down home atmosphere."
Vanderbilt Catholic High School has an 8-1 record and they have one more game to play before the playoffs start. Ross has 45 tackles, three fumbles caused and two sacks.
He reports a 2.5 core GPA and a 14 ACT, which he retook on Oct. 27.