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Ty Isaac won't back down

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The minute Ty Isaac arrives, the chatter begins.

Take The Opening, for example. Isaac missed the first two days of the four-day event, but he arrived in time for the 7-on-7 tournament July 7 and 8. Once Isaac arrived, defensive backs and linebackers were on the prowl, anticipating their opportunity to get a shot against the Joliet (Ill.) Catholic Academy four-star running back.

"I like that," Isaac said. "And, trust me, it's vice versa."

While the 7-on-7 game isn't what Isaac is known for, Isaac showed his ability to be a pass-catching option out of the backfield. But that's not his specialty. At 6-foot-3 and 217 pounds, Isaac is a bruising downhill runner who loves using his size to his advantage in the running game.
Isaac's stats were ridiculous in 2011. In addition to rushing for 2,114 yards and 45 touchdowns, he also averaged nearly 12 yards per carry.

With his size, it's difficult for defenses to contain him between the tackles, but when they're forced to catch him in the open field on a breakaway, it almost seems unfair.

"He's already built like a Division I running back," fellow USC commit and four-star quarterback Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) said. "That's obviously nice for me for pass blocking, but he also moves real well out of the backfield and catches the rock. You can tell he works hard and is going to be a special player."

Another USC commit, four-star receiver Eldridge Massington (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite), simply added: "Ty is a freak."

Isaac used those two last days of The Opening as his own personal measuring stick. With all the talent in Oregon, it was a perfect opportunity for him to show why he's the No. 7 running back in the country. It also was a chance for him to prove that he was better than No. 7 by showing he wasn't just a north-south runner.

"There were a lot of good athletes, and you either shine, or you crumble," Isaac said. "You're out with the best of the best, and you want to compete and have a good time doing it. That's the competitor in all of us. I'd be disappointed in the DBs, linebackers and everyone else if they didn't say they want to compete against me."

In the short span in Oregon, Isaac was able to show why he had more than 20 FBS offers. Along with USC, Isaac had offers from closer schools Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Northwestern. He was recruited by USC offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu, as well as assistant coach Monte Kiffin.

Isaac said USC sold him with a very direct offensive philosophy: Focus on production.

"Any time you look at USC, it's always the same thing -- they produce backs," Isaac said. "When I went there, they showed me film of what we're going to do. They stay true to what they're going to do.

"If you come there, great. If you don't come, they're still going to do what they're going to do. That's what I liked about them."

Many USC followers feel Isaac and four-star running back Justin Davis (Stockton, Calif./Lincoln) will make up one of the nation's most potent backfields upon arrival. Davis, not a small back himself at 6-1 and 195 pounds, had a chance to get to know Isaac better in Oregon. Both are excited about what the future could bring for the Trojans.

"I like his running style. He can attack you a lot of different ways," Davis told WeAreSC.com. "It's really been a good experience just to see how each other works, how we complement each other and how we can be a tandem together in the future."

USC had eight commits participating at The Opening, and before the players left the Nike headquarters, they took time to pose for a team picture. Building on that team bond was one of Isaac's goals during his stay in Oregon, particularly with him living thousands of miles away from the majority of commits from the West Coast.

Showing that he belonged among the nation's elite -- as a multipurpose back -- was the primary goal, and he felt he accomplished that mission.

"I'm not here to make predictions or anything," Isaac said, "but I was there to do what I do, and that was to show that I can play football."

That always seems to happen the minute he arrives on the field.