Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ty Isaac, Wolverine

Ty Isaac
USC transfer running back Ty Isaac has announced his intentions to take his talents to Washtenaw County. His mother has an illness that does not allow her to fly from their home in Joliet, Illinois, so the roughly four-hour drive to Ann Arbor is easier on her. He was also considering Illinois and Notre Dame with other teams like Northwestern, Northern Illinois, and Ohio State also showing interest.

Isaac is a 6'3", 225 lb. player who was a 247 Composite 4-star, the #8 all-purpose back, and #54 overall in the 2013 class. As a freshman at USC, he carried the ball 40 times for 236 yards (5.9 yards/carry) and 2 touchdowns.

I wrote a scouting report on Isaac when he was in high school and considering Michigan (LINK).

Isaac was a backup for the Trojans last year, but they had a stacked backfield. He would have been a bit player once again this season, but he enters a Michigan backfield that is waiting for one of many players to emerge at the position. The two front-runners for the position had been sophomores De'Veon Smith and Derrick Green, both of whom were also in the 2013 class with Isaac. Isaac automatically enters that conversation as long as the NCAA waiver comes through that will allow him to play immediately, based upon his mother's illness.

The depth chart will sort itself out. The best player(s) will play, but I have a hard time imagining all three players finishing out their careers at Michigan. Assuming that Isaac's waiver is granted and he is eligible to play in 2014, I would not think that redshirting him would be a great idea. If he's not immediately the best runner, he offers some value as a pass receiver out of the backfield and perhaps in an H-back type of role.

I won't assign a TTB Rating to Isaac because it's a little unfair, given that we've already seen him playing against FBS-level competition. However, I did say during the recruiting process that I would have ranked him above Green (and Smith), so I probably would have rated him somewhere in the 90's.

Michigan will probably continue recruiting running backs for the 2015 class because they did not address the position in the 2014 class. It's less dire of a need, but going two consecutive years without a running back (even if you got three in 2013) is not a good long-term strategy. By seniority, here's the running back stable as it stands right now:

1. Justice Hayes, RS Jr.
2. Drake Johnson, RS So.
3. Derrick Green, So.
4. Ty Isaac, So.
5. De'Veon Smith, So.
6. Ross Douglas, RS Fr.

The last player to come from Joliet (IL) Catholic to Michigan was Mike Kolodziej, an injury-addled offensive lineman in the 2002 class.


  1. I know that for spacing purposes, it would be ideal that he sits out for the transfer year. But if he gets the waiver he has as much of a chance of winning the #1 spot as anyone. The fact that Justice Hayes was the main RB in the bowl game says a lot (and it's not good). There's a nice probability that Smith and Green are both solid, but I would not bet on either of them being a good feature-back at this point. And whether either player can be a big-play RB or a 3rd down guy remains to be seen. So despite all of the sophomores and depth on paper, I'm hoping he can get his waiver and mix it up this fall.

    1. Either way, it worked out nicely for UofM. If Isaac had committed originally, we probably don't land Smith and Green. If he gets the waiver, one of the three probably transfers at some point and Michigan gets to keep the best two. If he doesn't, Michigan effectively fills the spot it didn't use in the '14 class.

      I think Smith and Green can be feature backs, IF the OL makes holes for them. There is a good chance the OL doesn't, so a more elusive back may be more effective. I don't know that Isaac is that guy though. Hayes may still end up being your starter, even if Isaac is eligible.

      The real loser here, IMO is Drake Johnson. Johnson seems like the 2-star version of Isaac.

      Certainly, our backfield situation just got a lot more interesting.

    2. Agreed with Drake Johnson. His chance of getting on the field just got a lot harder. I wouldn't say never, but Ty Issac just is much better.

  2. Seems like Michigan would benefit from him NOT getting the waiver, so as not to have 4 RBs in the same class.

    Kolodziej was a bigtime recruit.

    H-back seems like an extreme shift, only if he gets buried on the depth chart. He'd have to change his body to take on that kind of blocking-heavy role.

  3. I'm pleasantly surprised by this. I had a bad feeling he'd wind up at ND, where that waiver supposedly would not have been an issue.

    1. ND is not within 100 miles. 102 by Googlemaps.

    2. I haven't seen anyone confirm that it's driving distance rather than flying distance.

    3. Issac's mother can't fly, so....

  4. I don't think he'll get the waiver. The usual standard is 100 miles as the crow flies, and as Mitch McGary knows, the NCAA likes to follow its rules literally.

    1. We'll see, as the NCAA rules are not always consistently applied. I hope he plays in 2014, but doing a redshirt thing might be good as well -- giving him some extra time to learn the playbook and giving a year of space between Issac and Green/Smith duo.