A few months ago the frenetic pace of recruiting had begun getting to Ty Isaac. As other prospects found quick resolutions to their recruiting processes, Scout.com’s #1 tailback suddenly found himself facing the distinct possibility of having to expedite his own. That meant more phone calls and more visits squeezed in a rapidly closing time window… all while maintaining the proper balance with school and training. That’s more a sign of the times than anything unique to Isaac’s recruitment, but he did choose to deal with that pressure differently than many others have.
Instead of coming to a hasty decision that he might one day regret and ultimately back out of, he chose to take a breather from the rat-race. In other words, less correspondences with coaches, even fewer with the media, and more weekends at home instead of on the visit trail. There was one exception to that visit rule, however… a late March trip to USC.
The purpose for the left-coast trek was two-fold... he would get the chance to unwind with his dad while spending time visiting family. He’d also have the opportunity see a school that he’d admired from afar. The trip proved productive on both fronts. He and his dad came back refreshed, and they also returned with a better appreciation for one of the talented youngster’s finalists. Now that that his recruitment has come into greater focus, he is preparing for another trip out to the Golden State.
“I get on a plane Friday morning… I leave for SC,” Isaac reported. “9:00 their time is when my flight lands. Then I’m not sure how long I’m there. I might leave Saturday night or Sunday morning… one of the two.”
The hint of uncertainty about the schedule is a partial reflection of who the trip is for. Sure it benefits Isaac to take another look at a program that made a strong first impression, but the benefit will be much more significant for a member of his family.
“My mom is coming out with me and my dad this time,” Isaac explained. “It’s just because she’s been to all the other schools that I’ve been to. She looks at (USC) as somewhere she wants to check out. If it was somewhere I ended up deciding to go, she wants to at least come check it out prior to a commitment or something… the same as with any other school. So (the visit) is definitely for her to get out and check it out. As far as the (decision-making) process goes, I still don’t know where I’m at, but obviously (the visit) is good for her. She’s been able to get everywhere else that she wanted to go, so, she said, ‘we have to go back.’”
The Isaacs’ return to Southern California is definitely a positive sign for Trojans surging chances in the race for the five-star prospect’s services, but he warns against reading too much into it. The inevitability of many recruiting followers doing just that was largely responsible for him keeping his visit plan close to the vest.
“At this point (people) are going to find out (about the visit) anyway,” he said. “They’re going to have writers out there that hear that I’m out there, and they’re going to write about it. I can’t control that. I knew I had it set up for about two weeks and I kind of didn’t want to say right when I knew because you know how some of these guys on the internet are. They go crazy… like two visits means a commitment. But it’s tough… you have to get out and see these places. Just because it’s far away doesn’t mean it should be a one visit type deal. I’ve been a lot of places multiple times, so we’re just checking it out again.”
How the schedule will shape up after the USC trip is still up in the air. He could take more visits (mom indicated another trip to Michigan is likely), he could attend a Nike Camp, and he could attend Nike’s “The Opening.” The one recruiting certainty in the months leading up to his senior campaign is that he will make his college decision.
“For sure,” replied Isaac when asked if he will make his commitment prior to the fall. “I was thinking about it today… once we get into the season, I’m not going to really want to call these people and I’m not really going to be wanting to visit. That’s nothing against any (schools or coaches), but you have school, you’re practicing, you’re focused on your whole deal. I’d rather just knock (the decision) out before (the season). “
That means in addition to visits, there will be a lot of interaction with his primary suitors via phone.
“I talked to Coach (Jeff) Hecklinski a couple days ago and I’ll probably be on the phone with Coach Jackson (today). We’re in pretty good touch. Once or twice a week I speak with somebody (at Michigan).
“I’m still in good touch with everybody that I need to be (at all the schools), “ added Isaac. “It’s been going a lot smoother than it had previously. I’m just taking my time and making sure I do this right.”
Isaac is still shying away from publicly naming any schools that may be standing out on his list, but that definitely does not mean there aren’t any.
“I have my little list in my head,” he admitted. “(Fans) are going to know where I’m going once I commit. Other than that, I’m just keeping it kind of to myself. It’s just because I’m more of a private person. “
There are, though, those rare occasions when Isaac lets everyone know exactly how he is feeling. One of those occurred when he couldn’t contain his excitement over being named to the Under Armour All American Game.
“That was the one I was waiting on,” he said. “I was cool playing in the other two that I got invited to, but you see the Under Armor game and it just looks like the most fun. People I’ve talked to that have been in it say ‘yeah, for sure, it’s the most fun.’ I feel like with this being the last time you’ll be a high school football player, it’s a reward for the things that you’ve done. It should definitely be about fun.”
Fun not just for Isaac, but as it turns out, for his entire family.
“We were all on the same page,” Isaac said laughingly regarding his family’s elation. “We were all kind of waiting, so we were all excited. It was pretty big.”