Finally injury-free, Ingram shines as Wesley defensive end

Isaiah Ingram was named the NJAC Defensive Player of the Week after helping the Wolverines to a 41-0 win over TCNJ on Saturday. He had nine tackles, including 1.5 sacks, in the shutout. (Wesley sports information)

Isaiah Ingram was named the NJAC Defensive Player of the Week after helping the Wolverines to a 41-0 win over TCNJ on Saturday. He had nine tackles, including 1.5 sacks, in the shutout. (Wesley sports information)

DOVER — In the morning is when Isaiah Ingram feels the worst.

It’s when his body aches the most.

The junior defensive end missed one season with a knee injury and parts of another with a broken hand since he’s been at Wesley College.

Ingram still has a good-sized lump on the back of his left hand where a screw was used to repair it.

“It looks crazy now,” he says, holding up his hand.

The 22-year-old jokes that sometimes his body feels more like it’s 50.

“It’s so painful when I wake up,” said Ingram. “I’ve just got to get through it. The hand still bothers me a little bit but it’s nothing that I can’t handle. I just take some medicine and keep it moving.”

Isaiah Ingram

Isaiah Ingram

Isaiah Ingram has gone through a lot to get where he is right now on the football field.

But he’s in a pretty good place for the Wolverines (3-1 NJAC, 3-2 overall) who take a two-game winning streak into Saturday’s New Jersey Athletic Conference matchup at Kean (2-2, 3-2). Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

Now that Ingram has been able to play in all five games this season, coach Mike Drass said the 6-foot-2, 235-pound redshirt junior is starting to come into his own.

“Right now he’s in that stride — he’s finally comfortable getting into everything,” said Drass. “You can see it, just with him getting off the football.

“He’s a guy that we think could be as good as some of the other defensive ends we’ve had around here.”

Ingram was named the NJAC Defensive Player of the Week after helping the Wolverines to a 41-0 win over TCNJ on Saturday. He had nine tackles, including 1.5 sacks, in the shutout.

For the season, Ingram has 23 tackles, with 5.5 for loss, two quarterback hurries and a pair or forced fumbles.

He admits it’s been frustrating having so many stops and starts to his college playing career.

“It was very disappointing,” said Ingram. “My knee injury was the first injury I ever had. Having that and missing a whole season was very painful. It’s a very depressing time. Coming back, having a good season, and then breaking a bone in my hand, it was just very disappointing again.

“Hopefully this is my first season (without an injury). I’m about to make it through. I’m not trying to jinx it. This season, it’s real fun.”

Certainly, the more that Ingram is on the field, the better he gets. He just hopes he gets to stay out there.

“From my freshman year all the way to now, I think I’ve gained a lot of experience and football knowledge to improve my game,” said Ingram. “There’s always room to improve but I feel pretty good about what I’m doing right now.

“As a defensive end, my only job is to make the person in the backfield with the ball feel uncomfortable. As long as I can do that and we can win, I did my job and I feel happy about it.”

As for the aches and pains, Ingram said he’s not worrying about them. He’s only got one more year after this to play football.

“I’ll recover from these (injuries) most definitely,” said Ingram. “I joke about it now but these times right now, I want to cherish them as much as possible.”

Robinson doing the dirty work

As a tight end, Tory Robinson knows he’s being asked to do two completely different things.

Tory Robinson

Tory Robinson

“It’s one of those positions where you’ve got to be good at both,” explained the Wesley senior. “You can’t just be a receiver and you can’t just be a blocker.”

A former slot receiver, Robinson said he “never had my hand in the dirt” in high school. So making himself into a good blocker has been the 6-foot-2, 245-pounder’s biggest challenge in college.

Robinson said he’s proud of how far he’s come as a blocker.

“It’s something that I think I’ve mastered,” he said. “And something now that I take pride in. You’ve just got to buy into the position.

“I mean, it’s a dirty job. You’re in the trenches. And then you’ve got to be able to go out for a pass and catch the ball.”

Naturally, though, Robinson still relishes the opportunity to get his hands on the ball.

With nine receptions for 129 yards this season, he’s averaging 14.3 yards per catch. In his career, Robinson has 39 receptions for 432 yards and four touchdowns.

“I like to make plays when I have the ball,” he said. “It feels good.”

Line coming along

As much as coaches like to hope their teams are ready to go when the season starts, they also know some positions — especially the offensive line — just takes longer to come together.

Drass said he’s seen the Wolverines’ ‘O’ line get a lot better since the season began. Wesley has three new starters up front.

“For an offensive lineman, staying on your feet and moving your legs — things you think are real simple — they’re not as easy as you think,” said Drass. “And when you have an offensive line that’s staying on their blocks and moving their feet, you’re going to be able to move the football.”

The Wolverines lead the NJAC in scoring offense at 37.8 points per game. While they’re second in the league in passing offense (251.6 yards), they’re also second in rushing offense (212.0 yards).

Extra points

Freshman running back E.J. Lee was named ECAC Rookie of the Week for the Division III South Region for the second straight week. He ran for 157 yards and three TDs on 15 carries against TCNJ. … Wesley is still last in the conference in turnover margin at minus-six.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.