What was previously a very quiet week in Big 12 recruiting, and in college football as a whole, got a little louder yesterday. Iowa State has been on a quest for offensive linemen in this recruiting class, and late last night they added another with the commitment of in-state star Zach Ross.
Ross is the second offensive lineman in the class, along with Trevor Downing, though he absolutely won’t be the last considering how much help Iowa State needs in the trenches. Ross is the ninth player in Iowa State’s class. If it seems like Iowa State has been in the news a lot recently, it’s because they have, he’s the seventh player to pledge his commitment to Iowa State since April 24th.
Beyond excited to announce that I have committed to Iowa State University!! pic.twitter.com/Wzo5IDZJmA
— Zach Ross (@bigzross11) May 25, 2017
THE ROSS FILE
Iowa State landed Ross over Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado State. As I’ve said before, Iowa goes widely unrecruited or scouted as a state. So, rankings and offer lists for kids like this should be taken with a grain of salt. Rankings matter, and are generally pretty close to what they should be, but for the most part, kids like this from schools that don’t get a lot of attention just fly under the radar. Unless the player is outstanding coming out of high school, and attending all the camps, like Allen Lazard, they’ll likely be a low three star when they live in a state like Iowa. Is it fair? Not really. But that’s how the system works, and the system is usually pretty accurate, at least in heavily populated states that produce lots of football players.
Ross could end up at either guard or center at the next level. He has the size and ability to play either, and his high school coach has said that he thinks Zach could excel wherever Iowa State wants him on the interior of the line. His in-class counterpart, and a player he has already started to form a relationship with, Trevor Downing, has the size to play tackle or guard, but he will not be a center, so my guess is that unless Iowa State goes out and gets a true center (few and far between coming out of high school), Ross will be the guy at center a few years from now.
On the field, Ross is a very intriguing prospect, and one of my favorite lineman I’ve watched in this recruiting cycle. He’s not going to beat anyone with athleticism, but he’s extremely powerful, and smart on the football field. He does a lot of pulling out of the guard spot for his high school, and will certainly continue pulling at the next level, so it’s a big plus that he’s as good at it as he is. He’s not very quick, but once he gets going on a pull block, he’s downright destructive, and blows up lineman and linebackers alike. He’s got a good first step, and his long arms help him block linebackers in the second level. He’s raw in pass protection, but that can be fixed with coaching, physical gifts can’t be, and Zach has physical gifts. His ceiling comparison is Evan Mathis.