Earning His Spurs: Brandon Isaac

How would a senior "earn his spurs?" In Brandon Isaac's case, the answer is simple. He came to Carolina in Steve Spurrier's first recruiting class as a highly touted JUCO. With only two starts to his credit that season, 2006 seemed his year. A three game suspension combined with a shoulder injury brought 2006 to an end before it began.

Redshirted, he sat back and watched through hungry eyes as the Gamecocks took another step forward in the Steve Spurrier era.

With spring camp now in full force, Isaac finally gets the chance to prove his worth. He's not letting the opportunity slip by him this time.

About sitting and watching Isaac said, "It was hard (sitting out last year). I had goals that I had set, and then being on the sideline and seeing the secondary struggle, I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to be there physically, not just emotionally."

Sitting out 2006 may have been a blessing in disguise as Isaac projects himself to be a much better player, "I worked on getting stronger. I really worked on it. I'm more relaxed. I put on a little weight and watched some film. I learned more about the game – more tendencies of offenses, different formations, and what they can and can not do out of that formation. I think it helped me a lot."

Isaac has also learned a lot on the field this spring, to which he replied, "Coach Cooper is a good guy. Under him, I've learned a lot, and I think he blossomed me into a pretty good player."

With himself, Carlos Thomas, Captain Munnerlyn, Emanuel Cook and Stoney Woodson, the Gamecock secondary should be much improved from last season's sub-par showing. "I think we'll be better as a whole this year. Carlos Thomas has gained confidence. Captain gained a lot of confidence. Then we got Stoney Woodson. I think we'll be better."

The former three-star safety from Georgia Military turned down offers from Georgia and a Utah squad headed by Urban Meyer at the time to be a part of Steve Spurrier's newest program.

His health, an obvious concern, seems an afterthought so far. "I feel as if I'm doing pretty well, but there's a lot of room for improvement. My shoulder's feeling pretty good though. Spring is a learning process."

Only time will tell.

Seeing the Carolina offense first hand while playing a role in what's been dubbed a defensive dominated spring, Isaac still praised the guys on the other side of the line. "I think the offense has been saving themselves. I think they are gonna have a little coming out party (at the Garnet & Black game). They worked on the offensive gadgets. I think they are gonna' come out with some trickery."

More specifically, Isaac praised the guys he's been covering, "All of (the wide receivers) bring different things to the table. McKinley is a pretty shifty guy. All of them are pretty good."

As for his future, Isaac refuses to contemplate anything past 2007. When asked about the 2008 NFL draft, he quickly dispelled any chances of overlooking the present for the future. "I just want to focus on football here. We have a lot we want to accomplish here. We want to compete for the SEC (title)."

Are the answers filled with cliché's and political correctness? Sure they are. In the case of Brandon Isaac though, you can rest assured he means what he says. Given three years to play two after his transfer, this is it. There are no more redshirts, no more chances and no more excuses. He lost a season once already, so the 6'2" 201 pound Safety is determined to wrestle the opportunity to the ground like a receiver who threatens his domain.

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