19 in 19: DE Max Issaka

ScarletReport.com's "19 in 19" series profiling each member of the freshman class entering school this summer continues with a profile on Woodbridge (N.J.) High defensive end Max Issaka.

Max Issaka is working two jobs, participating in spring track, readying for graduation and working to re-shape his body in hopes of playing defensive end as a freshman for Rutgers in the fall.

So, when he enrolls at Rutgers on June 26, four days after he graduates from Woodbridge (N.J.) High, and begins summer workouts, perhaps it will give him a bit of a break from the grind he is going through now.

The question Issaka has, though, is whether he will be on the defensive line, or outside linebacker.

"They gave me a heads up to keep working hard and stay in shape so they could do anything with me," Issaka said. "Depending how my body shapes up, that will determine a lot of things."

The likely stopping place is with the 6-foot-2, 252-pound Issaka lining up at defensive end, at the ‘R' position, which Rutgers uses to drop defensive ends into coverage in certain packages. And, that would suit Issaka's taste well.

"Hopefully, I'll be able to play the ‘R' position," said Issaka, who gained 12 pounds since the end of the season. "I look a little skinnier than my weight. I believe I should stay there because of the places I will be lining up."

At one point Issaka was up to 255 pounds, but he dropped a few pounds because it was hampering his extensive responsibilities with Woodbridge's track team.

Among the events Issaka said he participated in during the last two seasons were the 110 meter hurdles, 100 and 200 meters, high jump, long jump, triple jump, shot put, discus and javelin.

He also works at a fast food establishment, and for an appliance company, but is anxious to get to Rutgers and begin his college career.

"In high school you go four years and some kids don't want to up and leave, but Rutgers is right in my backyard," Issaka said. "For a couple of months I've been going there and working out. Rutgers is home already. Being excited has passed.

"Now, I'm just ready to work. It's a little nerve-wracking knowing I'm going to jump in there, but I'm ready to work. I'm just trying to stay in shape, lift hard and get ready."

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