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Local Sports

Ex-JCA All-American Isaac eager for chance to face his buddies

JOLIET – Ever since former Joliet Catholic All-America running back Ty Isaac announced last week that he is transferring to Michigan, Ty Isaac has been busy texting.

“I’ve texted a few buddies from this area who I’ll be playing against,” he said. “Just at Northwestern alone, there’s Malin [Jones], JB [Butler], Blake King and Parrker Westphal. Parrker is my mom’s godson.”

Westphal was an all-state defensive back at Bolingbrook. King played at Minooka and Jones and Butler were Isaac’s JCA teammates before he graduated and left the Midwest for Southern California, where he pursued his dream to play major Division I football. However, Northwestern granted Jones a release from his scholarship Friday, and he plans to transfer.

“It will be neat to be playing against some guys I know from around here,” Isaac said. “I’m looking forward to that.”

In May, he announced that he was transferring from USC to a school in the Midwest, wanting to be closer to home. He cited a health concern with a family member.

Isaac said he does not know when the NCAA will rule on his request for a hardship waiver. If it goes in his favor, he will be eligible to play this fall. If not, he will red-shirt and return to the gridiron in the fall of 2015.

“I would be very disappointed if I didn’t get it,” he said. “I think I have a really good case. But whether that happens was not a factor in me deciding on Michigan.”

Isaac always had Notre Dame high on his list out of high school and many felt South Bend, Indiana, could be his destination now. However, “USC could block schools that I wanted to talk to so that knocked Notre Dame out,” Isaac said.

In addition to Michigan, he visited Illinois, where former JCA backfield mate Josh Ferguson is the No. 1 running back.

“Even outside of football, I see Josh around,” Isaac said. “He and I talked when I was visiting Illinois. I liked Illinois and I always liked Michigan.”

He will play in coach Brady Hoke’s program for the Wolverines’ new offensive coordinator, Doug Nussmeier.

“Coach ‘Nuss’ runs a system I am familiar with,” Isaac said. “It’s similar to what we ran last fall at USC. And he wants to run the ball a lot.”

Isaac rushed for 236 yards in 40 carries, a 5.9 average, last season. He was getting more playing time and beginning to be noticed more late in the season.

“Obviously, you couldn’t talk to any college football player who wouldn’t say they want to play more,” Isaac said. “That’s not why I transferred. I take a lot of positives away from my year at USC.”

Isaac said adjusting to college ball was difficult, but not anything he did not expect.

“At the end of the day, there was not anything negative,” he said. “I got to play ball.”

He plans to play a lot more down the road.

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