Will Ty Isaac switch to Notre Dame?

Will Ty Isaac switch to Notre Dame?
January 22, 2013, 4:13 pm
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Update: Isaac has denied the report that he's taking a visit to Notre Dame.

College football's national signing day is two weeks away and recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network predicts that the biggest story will be about the top-rated players who decommit from their original choices and sign with other schools.

Robert Nkemdiche of Loganville, Georgia, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive end who is universally regarded as the No. 1 prospect in the nation, has decommitted from Clemson and is expected to join wide receiver Laquon Treadwell of Crete-Monee at Ole Miss.

Running back Reuben Foster of Auburn, Alabama, committed early to Alabama, then switched to Auburn and currently is considering Georgia and Washington.

Dee Liner of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, one of the leading defensive linemen in the country, committed to Auburn but continues to talk to Alabama.

Carl Lawson, a defensive lineman from Alpharetta, Georgia, who is rated as the No. 4 player in the nation by Rivals, committed early to Auburn but now is considering Ole Miss, USC and Clemson.

Will Oregon lose some recruits--maybe Thomas Tyner, the top-rated running back in the nation--in the wake of coach Chip Kelly's decision to go to the NFL?

Notre Dame lost highly rated linebacker Alex Anzalone to Florida. But the Irish landed safety Max Redfield, who decommitted from USC.

Now Notre Dame is in the hunt for running back Ty Isaac of Joliet Catholic, who committed to USC last May. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder who is rated as the No. 2 running back and No. 10 player in the nation by Lemming, plans to visit the South Bend campus this weekend with three other recruits who already have decommitted from USC.

"USC recruiting is in turmoil and Notre Dame hasn't been hurt by the trifecta--being blown out by Alabama in the national championship game, coach Brian Kelly interviewing for the Philadelphia Eagles' head coaching job and the bizarre Manti Te'ogirlfriend hoax story," Lemming said. "They are having a great recruiting year. Alabama or Notre Dame or Florida or Ohio State will finish No. 1 in the recruiting sweepstakes."

There have been hints that Isaac is having second thoughts about his commitment to USC. He had planned to graduate early and enroll at USC in January. But in a text message to ESPN, he said: "Just didn't work out down the line with a couple of things."

At one time, USC coach Lane Kiffin had commitments from 12 of the nation's top 100 players. But last season's 7-6 finish put a damper on the program. And NCAA sanctions limited the Trojans to 15 scholarships. So Kiffin had to drop some blue-chippers.

Isaac, Illinois' Player of the Year in 2011 and the state's leading prospect in 2012, was scheduled to visit the Los Angeles campus on Dec. 7 with other early enrollees. At the time, he rescheduled his trip to mid-January. Instead, he is visiting Notre Dame.

Lemming said he considers Isaac the best running back to come out of Illinois since Niles West's Rashard Mendenhall in 2004. Mendenhall went on to stardom at Illinois and currently is playing with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

As a junior, he rushed for 2,629 yards and 42 touchdowns. He averaged 12 yards per carry. In a 70-45 loss to Montini in the Class 5A championship game, he set playoff records by rushing for 515 yards and six touchdowns.

As a senior, he was slowed by injuries and missed considerable playing time but still rushed for 1,500 yards and 22 touchdowns. He averaged 8.7 yards per carry. And he passed J.R. Zwierzynski and former All-Pro fullback Mike Alstott as the school's all-time leading rusher.

Notre Dame already has a commitment from running back Greg Bryant of Del Ray Beach, Florida, who is ranked as the No. 15 player in the nation by Lemming.

"Notre Dame has a lot of kids coming back but they need to get bigger and stronger, more muscle up front on defense, if they are going to be competitive with SEC schools," Lemming said. "They are bringing in some good running backs. Will they get Isaac? That certainly would be a boost to the program and to the perception of Notre Dame recruiting in the Chicago area."

Joliet Catholic head coach Dan Sharp has not yet been in contact with Isaac about whether he is seriously considering Notre Dame, but says the rumors may be true.

"There is a chance the rumors are true, I'm not sure what he wants to do."