It's no secret that quarterback is the most important position on the football field, and it's also no secret that Utah's struggles the past two years have mainly been a factor of subpar quarterback play. Because of the past struggles at the QB position, it's imperative that Utah ups the talent level at the position over the next couple recruiting cycles, and that's exactly what they did with the signing of Donovan Isom. Hailing from Destrehan High School in Destrehan, Louisiana, Isom is a big bodied quarterback with great accuracy, and also has the ability to gain yards on the ground. He isn't a true dual threat quarterback, as he won't run away from defensive backs in the open field, but he has the ability to elude pass rushers in the pocket and pick up yards on the run. At 6'4-230lbs, he's also hard to bring down in the pocket. Isom picked up early offers from Utah, Miami, Louisiana Tech and Tulane, but committed to Utah in early July after taking an unofficial visit to Salt Lake City. Even though he was committed, that didn't stop other schools from trying to poach Isom late in the recruiting process, as Mississippi State and others tried to sway him from Utah, but Isom stayed true to his commitment.
As mentioned earlier, and in the video, Isom is extremely accurate with the football, and rarely made a mistake during his senior year, but the one quality that Isom lacks is elite arm strength. He doesn't have the arm to throw a 60 yard bomb, but that's not what he's going to be asked to do while at Utah. Isom excels at distributing the ball to his teammates quickly and accurately, and also makes great decisions. There was some concern about Isom's weight in the offseason, as he got close to 250lbs, but with a great workout routine and diet, Isom was able to shed a lot of unwanted fat, and is now down to a lean 230lbs.
I've touched on a lot of tangible assets that Isom brings to the table, but probably the best quality about him is something that can't be measured. His leadership ability. Everybody that interacts with Donovan raves about his character and personality and that's exactly what you want in a quarterback. Isom is someone that will demand the respect of his teammates and will be a leader on the offensive side of the ball, but he'll also be an asset for future recruiting efforts. With assistant coach Brian Johnson leaving for another job, a lot of the connections he had in the state of Louisiana were lost with him, but Isom is a player that can help convince other Louisiana based players to give Utah consideration for their future school. For what Utah want's to do on offense, Isom is the perfect quarterback. He makes quick, accurate throws and has the ability to run the ball for yards as well. When you also factor in the intangibles that he brings to the table, then you get exactly what Coach Johnson said in the video, a homerun.
Prediction: Even though Isom is the total package at quarterback, he won't make a real push for playing time as a true freshman. The starting job will come down to Travis Wilson and Kendal Thompson, and Isom will likely be asked to lead the scout team offense. After a redshirt season, expect Isom to make a strong push for the backup role in 2015, and he'll have a great shot at being the starter as a redshirt sophomore for the 2016 season.
Incoming Player Projections: Donovan Isom
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