Big Ten schools already seemed to have a leg up when Ty Isaac announced he was leaving USC to play closer to home. Now, the former five-star running back out of Joliet Catholic is paying some visits to Big Ten schools, according to a report.
ESPN's Tom VanHaaren tweeted Thursday that Isaac is visiting Illinois and that a visit to Michigan would soon follow.
RB Ty Isaac's mother tells me Ty is visiting Illinois and also plans to visit Michigan next week.— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) May 29, 2014
Isaac opted to depart USC in order to be closer to his ailing mother. A Big Ten school seemed a logical fit, given how many of them offered him scholarships when he was a high school senior. Notre Dame also figured to be in the mix — the Irish were runners up to the Trojans in Isaac's initial selection process — until it was reported that a condition of his release from USC would be to not sign up with Brian Kelly & Co. That gave an even bigger leg up to Big Ten schools, and now it looks like Isaac could be in the process of picking one of them.
Illinois would be the closest school to home — certainly Champaign is closer than Ann Arbor — if proximity ends up being the No. 1 factor. Interestingly, one of the few playmakers returning to the Illini this season is running back Josh Ferguson, who also went to Joliet Catholic, graduating shortly before Isaac. Ferguson has Illini fans excited after a strong season last year, when he rushed for 779 yards (first on the team) and racked up 535 receiving yards (second on the team), scoring 11 touchdowns (first on the team) in the process.
Michigan is in more desperate need of help at the position. The Wolverines' running game was not good a season ago, one of the worst in the conference. Their 125.7 yards on the ground per game ranked only above Purdue. There's no telling if a talent like Isaac would cure all those ills in his first year of Big Ten play, but there's an obvious reason why Brady Hoke would be interested, particularly to team him with new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.