Can Isaac repeat in 2012?

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Can Isaac repeat in 2012?

Ty Isaac's statistics for 2011 were mind-boggling: 2,114 yards rushing, 11.9 yards per carry, 45 touchdowns, 515 yards and six touchdowns on 26 carries in the Class 5A championship game, Player of the Year.

What can the Joliet Catholic senior do for an encore?

"He is the best I've seen," said longtime recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network, who ranks Isaac as the best running back and the No. 8 player in the class of 2013.

"He looks like Eric Dickerson. He is the best running back to come out of the Chicago area since Rashard Mendenhall."

"He is the best player I have coached, one of the greatest ever to play in Illinois," said Joliet Catholic coach Dan Sharp.

"He has size, speed, tremendous footwork and the ability to break sharply, like Marcus Allen and O.J. Simpson. He has an extra gear that you don't expect with someone his size. He was made to be a running back, like Secretariat was made to be a thoroughbred."

After playing second fiddle to Josh Ferguson as a freshman and running in the same backfield with Malin Jones as a sophomore and junior, the 6-foot-2, 217-pounder is prepared to carry on a tradition of great running backs at Joliet Catholic and eager to accept the challenge.

"Finally, this is my team," Isaac said. "I feel I have been around here forever. It is the last opportunity we have to win a state championship. I have put in a lot of work for four years. I am stronger and faster (4.5) than last year at the same time. Now I will find out if it pays off.

"I'm just as versatile but I'm more equipped to carry the load. Mentally and physically, I'm ready to go. I was a glide-type of runner last year. But I was never set up to run in any way. How do I run? I never categorized my style, smooth or glide, as long as it is effective. It doesn't matter what they call it. I'm more confident going into this year. I have never been this excited about a season before."

Isaac insists he isn't concerned about repeating as Player of Year. "It isn't necessarily my goal. If you want to be Player of the Year, you don't have to think about it. My goal is to do what I can to help my team win. As far as Player of the Year, it comes down to who thinks is the best," he said.

This year, the leading candidates almost certainly are Isaac, Bolingbrook quarterback Aaron Bailey, Crete-Monee wide receiver LaQuon Treadwell and Maine South quarterback Matt Alviti.

Joliet Catholic, which will open against Providence in a nationally televised game on ESPNU on Aug. 24 in New Lenox, returns plenty of offensive punch with Isaac, quarterback Craig Slowik and wingback Tyler Reitz, who has been moved from fullback to Jones' spot. Tackle J.B. Butler will anchor the line.

Isaac has worked tirelessly during the spring and summer to prepare for his final season...one to two-hour workouts six days a week, no vacation, lifting weights three or four days a week, running, cardio-vascular work, footwork drills, body control, balance.

He didn't dwell too long on last year's 70-45 loss to Montini in the Class 5A championship game. Oh, he admits it took a month to get it out of his mind completely. But he had other things on his mind, like recruiting and making sure the Montini experience doesn't happen again.

"There is nothing I can do about it so I was determined to get ready for next season so it doesn't happen again," he said. "My goal is to do better than last year. I had pretty big numbers last year but I can look at games where I left some things on the table. I can go get them this year. For example, in a few games, I can go back and say I missed out on 50 to 60 more yards or I didn't make a cut or I wasn't focused enough. It will be great to
have better numbers as long as we're winning."

His trip down the recruiting trail ended on May 15 when he chose Southern California over Michigan following his second visit to the Los Angeles campus. He was impressed by USC's history of great running backs and Heisman Trophy winners. But it wasn't the only reason for his decision.

"At spring practice, I saw the way they played with each other, how loose they were. It reminded me of myself. I wanted to play with guys like that," Isaac said. "I got a whole vibe of how they do things.

"Before I went there, I thought it was a flashy place and I wasn't sure how I'd like it. But I felt at home right away, the way they had everything set up, the tradition, how they want to carry it on. It reminded me of Joliet Catholic.

"Sure, the Heisman Trophies are the biggest thing behind the national championships. That is impressive but it isn't necessarily what you are looking for in a college program. I respect what they did. It was awesome that they were the best players at that time. But I couldn't relate to them. I want to put my own trophy there. As long as we win games, personal accolades will take care of themselves."

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana has been named the Opening Day starter — for the White Sox.

While many are surprised he still hasn't been traded, few should be shocked by the news manager Rick Renteria delivered on Friday, when he announced Quintana would pitch the April 3 opener.

With Chris Sale gone to Boston, Quintana, a first-time All-Star in 2016, has been the odds-on favorite to take over as the team's ace. The only question seemed to be whether or not he'd still be in a White Sox uniform when the season began. But the club made it clear Friday that Quintana is their guy and he'll face the Detroit Tigers in the first game of 2017. The only one who seemed a little taken aback about the news is Quintana.

"I was surprised," Quintana said. "I knew I may get the ball for that day, but they didn't say nothing, so you didn't know. I just kept going and doing my workouts and all my stuff. I'm really, really happy with this opportunity. It's huge for me. I can't wait for that day to come.

"I'm excited to have this opportunity. It's a huge honor for me to have the ball for Opening Day the first time in my life. And I think it's a once-in-a-life opportunity."

Asked about the announcement earlier in the week, Renteria said he needed more time. Many speculated that it meant the White Sox were continuing to listen to offers for Quintana, who has drawn constant interest since the team began its rebuild in December.

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Quintana, who went 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 208 innings last season, has looked fantastic all spring. Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts on Thursday, Quintana made his first Cactus League appearance in a month and allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings. The left-hander also put on a brilliant performance for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Team USA hitters he faced before allowing a hit.

"He's very happy about it," Renteria said. "He has obviously earned it.

"I don't know if he was surprised as much as he was elated and proud to be given the opportunity to be the Opening Day starter. It's a privilege."

Quintana's resume of consistency made him a clear-cut choice for the nod. He heads into 2017 having pitched at least 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. In that span, he's produced a 3.32 ERA and 18.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. That figure represents the seventh-highest WAR total among all big league pitchers in that span.

Even though he's viewed as the staff ace, Quintana — who potentially has four years and $36.85 million left on his current contract — said he was surprised by the news because the club hadn't yet informed him of the honor.

"It means a lot for me, especially after last year when you make the All-Star team and this year the opportunity to play in the WBC and now you have the opportunity to pitch on Opening Day," Quintana said. "That's a lot of things happening for me now and I'm happy. And really blessed. You just try to do all my things every time.

"Maybe they don't know what it means for me, but it's a big thing."

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Miami QB Brad Kaaya

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Miami QB Brad Kaaya

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami

6'4" | 214 lbs.

2016 stats:

3,532 YDS, 62.0 CMP%, 27 TD, 7 INT, 150.3 QBR

Projection:

Third/Fourth round

Scouting Report:

"Groomed to be a quarterback from an early age, Kaaya flashes the mechanics and intelligence of a player who has spent hours in quarterback camps. However, he can be too mechanical and thinks too much rather than just flowing and responding to what the field offers him. Kaaya could have used another year of college, but he has the tools and intangibles to become an NFL starter. While he can work around his average arm strength, he must improve his accuracy and anticipation if he is to make a mark in the NFL." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Video analysis provided by Rotoworld and NBC Sports NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles