Trent Voss fought his way to being one of the best defensive players in the MAC though unconventional means. A linebacker for a good portion of most of his first two years on campus, Voss has staked out a spot as one of the best defensive ends the conference has to offer. And for good reason.
The now senior DE played off the edge at around 220 pounds all of last year, but comes into 2015 at around 235 pounds. Still not up to scale with most DI college football down lineman, but big enough to cause a ruckus.
With one of his biggest games of the season coming at the tail end against Arkansas State (10 tackles, six of which were solo, and four of which were for loss in a 63-44 shootout — including a fumble recovery for a touchdown), Voss comes into 2015 as one of the most active defensive ends in the conference. The guy made 77 tackles (best among all MAC lineman) and sacked the quarterback 4.5 times last year; and is quite the disrupter of opposing offenses — he recorded 15 tackles for loss as well (second in the conference).
Voss' performance will be crucial for a team that knows it can score but might have a few more problems on the defensive side of the ball. After allowing 30.5 points per game and 3,792 yards through the air, the senior DE's ability to come hard off the edge will make a noticeable impact, be it positive or lacking. He's one of 15 returning starters (eight on defense), on a team which already knows who its playmakers are.
With Ray Bush gone and Junior Slyvestre with the Indianapolis Colts, Voss' role as the most important player on his side of the ball is readily apparent. The Rotary Award nominee has been acknowledged by us to be one of the leading candidates when it comes to conference player of the year, but given his performance, it's no surprise.
After not being voted onto the All-MAC team at the conclusion of the 2014 season, he may very well play with that chip on his shoulder. With Orion Jones and Treyvon Hester back for the Rockets, the D-Line unit should be one of the best in the conference. Cheatham Norrils and Cameron Cole return after missing basically the entirety of the 2014 season at cornerback. Having these two return will likely mean more time for Voss to get to the QB and make some noise this fall.
And there's this. Throwback!
Guys like Voss are the type of athletes that fill stadiums like Toledo's Glass Bowl. So does Voss do enough to help the defense perform at new heights that will propel the squad to Detroit? We'll just have to wait to find out.