Michigan Football: Why Josh Ross is the linebacker you need to know

Linebacker is one of the positions some Michigan football fans are worried about after the departure of Devin Bush and here’s why they shouldn’t worry.

When it comes to the 2019 season, Michigan football has some key questions to answer, especially on defense.

But when it comes to answering those questions, one guy that will play a huge role is linebacker Josh Ross, who should end up starting in the same role that Devin Bush Jr. did last season.

Of course, every Michigan football fan knows that Bush won’t be back this season, fresh off one of the better seasons by a linebacker in the history of the program. For his efforts, Bush was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and drafted in the first round of the NFL draft by Pittsburgh.

The departure of Bush left a huge hole in the middle of the Wolverines defense. And in terms of filling that void, Ross will be essential. During last season, he totaled 54 tackles, 5.5 TFL, an interception and two pass breakups.

According to Pro Football Focus, Ross was credited with 24 defensive stops last season, while also doing an exceptional job in pass coverage, allowing an opposing passer rating of just 52.6. He was also given a run grade of 78.9.

Ross played in all 13 games for Michigan football last season and he has continued to steadily improve, which is part of the reason he drew praise from teammate Khaleke Hudson at Big Ten Media Days:

“Josh Ross has stepped up magnificently. He’s looking good. Getting stronger, getting faster, getting smarter. He’s taking that role and running with it. I have no doubt in my mind that he’s gonna have a great season, I know he’s gonna have a great season, he’s a huge part of our defense this year.”

Ross is likely going to start at inside linebacker for the Wolverines, along with Hudson, who appears to be in line for the viper role again in 2019. He started there in each of the past two seasons.

Ross alternated with Devin Gil last season but should see an increased role this season. He’s not on the same level with Bush and it wouldn’t be fair to expect him to be, however, Ross is also expected to take his game to another level.

With all we have seen from him so far, another jump in 2019 is a reasonable expectation. He was productive in his role last season and if all goes to plan, he should make an even bigger impact.