To say that 2011 has been a breakout season for Joliet (IL) Catholic RB Ty Isaac would qualify as an understatement. The 6-2, 210 lb. junior has been an unstoppable force in 2011, amassing 1,631 yards and 32 touchdowns on 138 carries. His performance has validated the considerable hype that his talent has followed him for his entire high school career.
“The reason I was confident Ty was going to have a great season is because he has always been that kind of player,” said Isaac’s mother Karen. “He has always played with everything he had and been able to make things happen. Everyone was telling him he had to have a great year after last year’s injury. He worked his butt off in the offseason and it shows on the field. He's playing like I'm used to seeing him play. This may sound funny, but he has been a monster on the field since he was six! I'll never forget his first game at memorial stadium with the Joliet Raiders. He looked around the stadium and told me he wanted to play football the rest of his life.”
College coaches are lining up to help him move closer to accomplishing that goal. Michigan has been among those giving fierce chase and recently hosted the talented youngster in Ann Arbor for the second time during Saturday’s 36-14 victory over Purdue. Not even the chilly rainy conditions could dampen his positive vibe after taking in his first game at the Big House
“It was crazy,” Ty said. “You go to a lot of stadiums, but to be at a stadium that has 112,000 there... and to hear when they get loud, it was crazy. I never experienced anything like that. You get to walk down through the tunnel to get into the stadium and that in itself was really cool. Then just getting there and actually getting to see a stadium full of people (was cool also). I know when I went this summer, it was just empty. When it is completely full, it looks a whole lot bigger.”
As taken aback as Isaac was by the atmosphere, he was even more impressed by the 339 yards the Wolverines racked up on the ground.
“I think any running back in the nation would want to see something like that,” Isaac said. “I had spoken to Coach Jackson and Coach Hecklinski and they let me know, ‘Denard (Robinson) is here and we have to use him,’ which is completely understandable. He’s sick! Use him while you got him. But they said once he leaves, we’re making that transition to get out of the spread completely and try to work pro. That’s what they’re doing and they really ran the ball well. That was really good to see.”
An offense that features the tailback is among Isaac’s chief considerations when it comes to picking a school, and he will lean on his parents to help him determine which of his suitors best meet his criteria.
“Ty is a great student and will get a great education at any of the schools that have offered,” the youngster’s mother stated. "Where he fits best for football is the deciding factor in his final choice. We have met really wonderful people on his visits and he's seen awesome facilities. All of his offers are at running back and that is very important to him. My husband and Ty go over what might work for him and what might not, school wise. But what wonderful choices he has! Tyrone and I want him to see the campuses, meet the coaches, and get to know his position coach. We want to find out what their plans for him are. We want his decision to be educated.”
Receivers coach Jeff Hecklinski serves as the Wolverines Illinois recruiter and is spearheading Michigan’s efforts to lure Isaac to Ann Arbor. It hasn’t taken long for the two to establish a nice rapport, and with running backs coach Fred Jackson chipping in, the Maize & Blue are doing a good job of strengthening their recruiting position.
“We speak, I would say, semi regularly and they are just letting me know that they want me up there and they’ve got a plan for the things that they are trying to do with the pro-style offense, how they would use me as a back, and the things that they want to do. I told them that it is a tough process, but Michigan… I won’t say they are ahead of anybody because right now everybody is completely even, but obviously these are the types of things that you want to hear from anybody recruiting you.”
Hecklinski has made a favorable impression on mom as well.
“I think he is an incredibly nice man,” Karen added. “He’s very honest. He’s very straight forward. He seems like a great coach.”
As positive as those words are, it’s premature to call Michigan (or anyone else for that matter) the favorite. The four-star tailback plans to stick to a timeline that calls for at the earliest, a spring decision. In the meantime he plans to focus on helping his team advance in the playoffs and make a few visits if time permits.
“I’m thinking next week is a possibility just because it is another Friday game,” said Isaac. “We’ll see how things go and we’ll go from there. I probably won’t have an opportunity to make too many more visits, but I’ll do what I can. It would be either Wisconsin or Iowa.”