Joshua Ross impressed early on this season as he slid into the Michigan Wolverines defense as the replacement to the departed Devin Bush, though an ankle injury de-railed his junior season in Ann Arbor.
He has worked his way back, though head coach Jim Harbaugh revealed a new plan for him on Monday that could preserve his eligibility moving forward.
“He’s back. Prepared and ready to play,” Harbaugh said during his Monday press conference. “Our plan with Josh is for him to play in one more game. He hasn’t redshirted so far, and with the time that he’s already missed, hopefully he’ll have the luxury of only playing in one more game and then that will give him an extra year. Then he would have two more.”
Much of the reason why Michigan did not feel the need to rush Ross back to the field was because of the emergence of redshirt freshman Cam McGrone, who has become one of the stars of the Wolverine defense quickly in his career. That gave Michigan the luxury of how they would like to approach this moving forward.
“Cam’s starting, but Josh is being prepared to play when we feel like we most need it,” Harbaugh said. “So if one of the two inside backers would not be able to start or finish the game. Preparing him for when we need him the most. Trying to get that one game to be the game that he would play in.”
Ross can play in one more game this season and it sounds as if Harbaugh plans to use him as a “break in case of emergency” option at the linebacker position.
As of 2018, the NCAA allows players to play in up to four games in a season without burning their redshirt years. This is the first time that the Wolverines have done it with a veteran player, at least publicly.