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(From left to right) Ty Isaac, Tyler Reitz, Keith Craig, Cody Crater and Rachel Zampa sign college letters of intent at Joliet Catholic Academy Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, at 1200 N. Larkin Ave. in Joliet. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Joliet Catholic senior running back Ty Issac put conjecture to rest Wednesday when he signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Southern California and play for coach Lane Kiffin.
It seemed forever since he committed to the Trojans last May 15.
“It wasn’t fun,” Isaac said of rumors he would decommit and wind up elsehwere. “I read a lot of stuff about me that I didn’t know.”
Isaac, who holds just about all Joliet Catholic rushing records and will be remembered forever for his 515 rushing yards in the 2011 Class 5A state championship game against Montini, declined to say where he would have gone had he decided against USC. But he did say there were other good possibilities.
“It wasn’t apples and oranges, it was apples and apples,” Isaac said of his options.
Hilltoppers coach Dan Sharp kidded Isaac when he handed him a program for Wednesday’s ceremony at the school.
“We do have the right place, don’t we?” asked Sharp, who said Isaac is the “highest recruited kid we have ever had.”
“I was going to have (athletic secretary) Nancy Lupton print up three or four of these with different schools on each one,” Sharp continued.
Although he was ill, Isaac couldn’t help but smile at his sense of relief.
“Had I gone elsewhere, I would have had a good situation,” he said. “But each other school maybe wasn’t quite the ideal place I wanted. Yeah, I could say I wish this guy had been there, or this guy there, or this school in that location. You have to choose the place that is most right for you.”
Isaac reminded that when he committed and chose a side — USC — other schools “still recruit you, and they do present good alternatives.”
Isaac has visited USC on multiple occasions. Four USC recruits had changed their minds recently and signed Wednesday with other schools. While none of the rumors of Isaac decommitting came from him, he said he did have to ask questions about the program and the direction it is headed.
“I had my concerns,” he said. “I feel, though, that I did make the right choice. This is not an exact science.
“The guys who left, that was over their recruitment, not mine. You have to be selfish and worry only about yourself when you’re going through this process.”
Isaac said he no doubt will be homesick.
“It’s a long way out there, and I was not looking to run away from home,” he said. “When I went back out there, I was glad to see the coaches and players on the team. I asked the things I had to ask to make sure I am doing the right thing. I am.”
Other Joliet Catholic athletes signing Wednesday were girls soccer player Rachel Zampa with Northwestern and football players Tyler Reitz (running back, Siena Heights), Keith Craig (defensive back, Quincy) and Cody Crater (long snapper, South Dakota School of Mines).