Future Impact: Isaac Garcia

Bellevue (Wash.) four-star junior Isaac Garcia could play tight end or rush end for USC in 2016. With no commitments from tight ends in the 2015 class and only two scholarship tight ends on the roster, the position of greatest need for USC is clear.

Bellevue (Wash.) junior Isaac Garcia is still a year and a half away from signing his letter of intent to USC, but from this moment on, Trojans fans will be dissecting his game to project what position he plays in cardinal and gold.

Scout National Recruiting Director Brandon Huffman has seen Garcia play in person several times, both in games and in offseason workouts. Rating Garcia as a four-star tight end, Huffman likes what he sees from the 2016 prospect as a receiver.

“The best way to describe him right now is that he is a big, jumbo athlete,” said Huffman. “He can play with his hand down if he continues to grow, although right now he might be better suited to be a 3-4 outside linebacker. That’s right now.

“I think his highest ceiling as a player is on the offensive side of the ball. As a tight end he just looks so much more natural and comfortable. He catches the ball well, he runs well after the catch and he’s a very good blocker.

“You have to be a good blocker to play at Bellevue. Bellevue basically runs a wing-t, so his focus during the offseason was showing that he could catch the ball.

“Seeing him play offense during the season, he is just a sixth linemen. But that’s what makes him a very well-rounded tight end, and he’ll get more opportunities in the spring and summer to show off his receiving skills.”

According to Bellevue's 2015 roster, Garcia measures in at 6-foot-3, 216-pounds, which is not the prototypical size of a pro-style tight end. However, while Austin Seferian-Jenkins played a big role in Steve Sarkisian’s no-huddle offense in Washington, most teams with high tempo offenses use smaller, more mobile H-Backs in place of 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight ends.

“I think that’s why Garcia can play right away,” said Huffman. “A lot of tight ends in spread offenses are just jumbo receivers. What makes Garcia unique is that while is really natural catching the ball, he has been forced to become a good blocker because of the system he plays in at Bellevue.

“He could put his hand on the ground, but seeing how he gets open and runs with the football after the catch, I think he’s a guy you could split out wide and move around.”

Scout National Recruiting Analysts Greg Biggins saw Garcia in Bellevue’s season opener against Serra High School and well as at the Northern California NIKE Camp.

Biggins sees a legitimate debate as to whether Garcia plays offense or defense.

“It’s hard to contradict Huff because he’s probably seen him like 10 times and I saw him play against Serra where Bellevue doesn’t throw the ball in their system,” said Biggins. “He has a great frame for defensive end or tight end.

“He could be a down the field tight end like Bryce Dixon or a ferocious pass rusher. You can tell he’s from Fontana (Calif.) though. It’s kind of funny because Bellevue guys are like De La Salle guys.

“They’re real disciplined and carry themselves a certain way. Garcia is out there talking trash and hitting guys late after almost every single play. He plays with an edge and a mean streak. That sort of nastiness screams defense, but you watch him catch the ball in warm ups and see how fluid he is as a receiver.”

Suspending judgment on the potential Garcia has playing tight end, his frame plays toward the trend of USC recruiting bigger linebackers.

While the debate of defensive end versus tight end has been made, in reality, Isaac would likely end up playing in a two point stance at USC as an outside linebacker.

USC already has a commitment from 2016 four-star linebacker Daelin Hayes, who is 6-foot-4, 225-pounds.

“It’s like back in the day when USC has Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing and those guys at linebacker,” said Biggins. “You look at them now, and USC has a bunch of smaller guys. You don’t see those big NFL type linebackers.

“But it’s two-fold. You want to recruit bigger, stronger athletes for the 3-4, but it also just happens that the best linebackers in the 2015 class are all big guys. Porter Gustin, Osa Masina, Cameron Smith… all of the best guys happen to be 6-foot-4.”

Ironically, USC’s first two commitments in the class of 2016 come from out of state players. Hayes, who played for St, Bonaventure the first two games of the season, has now moved back to Michigan. Garcia, who is originally from Fontana, now lives in Washington.

“I think USC feels pretty good about both commitments because they have those ties to California,” said Biggins. “Hayes has the Ricky Town tie and Garcia grew up a big USC fan.”

But both players could become national recruits, and signing day 2016 is a long ways away.

“I think Garcia will get some national offers,” said Huffman. “Washington will eventually offer too and work the ‘this is your new home’ angle. But Washington is also behind the 8-ball because USC offered first.

“Now he is committed there and has no long standing ties to Washington. It’s similar to what UCLA did with Myles Jack. Myles Jack only lived in Washington for two years. Before that he lived in Georgia.

“UCLA had to fend off some ACC and SEC schools. Washington wasn’t really in it even though his high school was known as a feeder school for the Huskies. Isaac will have teammates who will go to Washington or who are at Washington, but he didn’t grow up a Husky fan. His ties are to USC and in Southern California. Plus, that staff at USC were the ones who first started recruiting Isaac when they were at Washington.”

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