Sam Webb: First things first, tell me about your trip out to California, what all it entailed from beginning to end?
Tyrone Isaac: “Everything was good… everything but the weather. It was 80 degrees at home, and we left it and went out to 50’s and 60’s. As far as the visit went, everything went well. When you’re going to these top schools, a lot of them are the same. You hear a lot of the same, see a lot of the same. One interesting thing was we got to see practice. They had a spring practice, so you got to see the coaches in what I call their element. Everything was good. The academic part was phenomenal. As far as the campus went, a lot of what I heard was, ‘it’s in a bad side of town.’ I stayed right across the street and everything seemed to be alright with me. I did get out and walk a little bit Friday night and it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t what I was expecting. As far as what I thought about how Ty took it in, he really doesn’t say much. He took it all in stride. I didn’t see anything that I didn’t see at any other school, so I don’t know. I kind of feel like I’m in the dark (with what he is thinking) too.”
Sam Webb: Well, you’ve got to give him space to process it himself…
Tyrone Isaac: “You know, and I do, and I try to respect that. You know one thing that he’s constantly telling me is, man, every time I see someone, ‘it’s ‘Where are you going? What are you doing?’ so I try to take that part out of the vocabulary with him. It’s just dad chillin’ with you, so I try to alleviate that (stress) for him instead of adding it.”
Sam Webb: Lets talk about things from your perspective. What did USC tell you about how Ty would fit in as far as playing time and that kind of stuff?
Tyrone Isaac: “They didn’t promise anything, and that’s kind of one where the red flag would go up with me, you know? You get a coach promising him he will play and, as good as I think he is, and this is, just me saying from a dad perspective… I would find it hard (to believe) a coach that says, ‘don’t worry, you’re going to come in here and start and blah blah blah blah blah.’ It wasn’t that. He said pretty much what everybody else said, which was, ‘looking at your film, if you come in here and work hard, you’ll have an opportunity.’ That’s all that I ask, is a fair opportunity. Even to him, I said, ‘don’t even ask that.’ Just ask if you’ll have a fair opportunity. They said, ‘we give freshmen a fair shot at it. We had five freshmen All-Americans last year.’ From that perspective, they will let freshmen play. They are short at running back though. A while ago, we looked at it… and it might have been when Reggie Bush was there and they had like thirteen tailbacks coming through and looking at that. But where they are now, they had moved a linebacker over to running back, so it’s a position they definitely aren’t heavy at. As far as people in front of him, it didn’t look like it was going to be an (impossible) mountain to climb."
And Mr. Isaac added, "He (Ty) took it all in stride. Ever since we got back now, we’ve been sifting through his top five, trying to make a wise decision. So far, it’s going good.
Sam Webb: I know you have family in California. Do you feel the fact that you family out there might make it an easier option for him?
Tyrone Isaac: “You know, Sam, it’s funny that you ask that. I have a first cousin out there, and we grew up like brothers. I was an only child and it was real good to see him out there, and just spending a little time with me and Ty, he got homesick. I kind of laughed, but with Ty, I don’t think (possible homesickness) will be a major factor. Right off, yeah, it is very far, but I got to thinking about it and when I went away to school, man, you’re so busy with everything going, it wouldn’t matter. I was like an hour away from the house, but during the football season it wasn’t a trip that I made that often. I would say after the freshman year that pretty much was the way things went. So, you know, Michigan, Notre Dame… they’re a lot closer and I feel like my access to him and to the games are a lot easier, but this is a huge decision for him and I don’t want to hinder him in any way saying, hey, ‘you need to stay close to home or nothing like that.’ This is a decision that’s going to affect the rest of his life. I’m here to help him out and sort through it, but…"
Sam Webb: But do you feel more comfortable with SC, knowing that you have basically your brother out there, that if Ty needed anything, he could have a family member there that he could lean on?
Tyrone Isaac: “I don’t know so much that they rely heavily on that. I don’t feel that was a selling point at all.”
Sam Webb: So, what about this: Ty has been fortunate to have been a lot of places, have you guys discussed further visits? Going other places or re-visiting some of the places that you’ve been to already?
Tyrone Isaac: “Not so much, I heard him once maybe say going back to check out Auburn again. That was probably the shortest…we had to pack a lot of things into the few hours we were down there. So, he did say something about that. I don’t know. I’ll be glad when we get to the final stages. In the first stages, everybody was all happy and wanting to, but going to do these visits that are not official visits, you know, they can get a little costly.”
Sam Webb: Your wife wasn’t able to make it to SC, so is that reason enough to make another visit back out to SC, so she can go with you guys?
Tyrone Isaac: “We did talk of that. She did say that you don’t really get a blessing until Mom goes out. I won’t try to pretend like I’m the boss here (laughter). Everybody knows what’s going on. You can’t bless it until Mom has blessed it. I did hear her saying that maybe when it’s a little better timing, maybe all of us could go out and check it out again.”
Sam Webb: If/when an opportunity to take further visits comes up, do you feel like you would need to take visits to all of the top five at that point… to give all the schools a final look, or would it just be a few at that point?
Tyrone Isaac: “Man, Sam, I hope that’s not the scenario. I might have to get a part time job here(laughter). I certainly hope not.”
Stay tuned for part two in which Mr. Isaac discusses his son’s possible timeline.