Isaac going to Michigan
CHAMPAIGN — The opportunity to become a featured running back.
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The opportunity to play close to home in order to reduce travel for his family.
And the chance to help elevate Illinois back into the national discussion.
Those were the main selling points Illinois tried to use in luring former five-star recruit and Joliet Catholic product Ty Isaac to Champaign for the next three years when Isaac made his visit to the Illinois campus last week.
In the end, those reasons weren’t enough.
The USC transfer announced Thursday morning he is transferring to Michigan, where he will have to go through the NCAA appeals process in order to play next season.
He left USC, citing a desire to be closer to his home because of reported health issues concerning his mother.
Since Ann Arbor is more than 100 miles from his home in Shorewood, it doesn’t appear likely he’ll receive a waiver to play the 2014 season with the Wolverines and have to sit out the season.
If he would have transferred to Illinois, Isaac would likely have been granted a waiver, making him eligible to play right away.
Isaac called the Illinois coaching staff shortly before 10 a.m. to tell them it wasn’t official he would transfer to Michigan, sources close to the program said, before announcing on Twitter a few minutes later he is heading to Michigan.
Isaac rushed for 236 yards on 40 carries and two touchdowns last fall with the Trojans, who finished 10-4 but had three different head coaches last season.
Steve Sarkisian takes over after leaving Washington.
Coaching stability and national exposure were two contributing factors Isaac wanted out of schools, according to sources, after he announced he was transferring from USC last month.
Isaac burst onto the national scene in 2011 during his junior season at Joliet Catholic, where he rushed for 2,629 yards and 42 TDs, including 515 rushing yards and six TDs during the Hilltoppers’ 70-45 loss to Montini during the Class 5A state title game at Memorial Stadium.
Injuries marred his senior season at Joliet Catholic, but he had committed to USC prior to his senior season.
Isaac would have provided added depth to Illinois this season and in the future.
Isaac’s former teammate at Joliet Catholic, Josh Ferguson, is the starting running back for Illinois this season, with Donovonn Young his backup.
But Ferguson is the only running back the Illini have right now who will have significant experience once the 2015 season starts.
Illinois fans will never get to see Isaac play at Memorial Stadium.
The Illini play Michigan next in Ann Arbor during the 2016 season and don’t host the Wolverines until 2019.
I will be attending the University of Michigan this year
— Ty Isaac (@TyIsaac) June 5, 2014